David Walker, comptroller general of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is leaving the agency after nearly a decade to work in the private sector.
Walker will end his tenure without ever having been able to give an audit opinion on the federal government’s financial results. Last December he lamented that in none of the past 11 years has the GAO been able to opine on the consolidated financial results of all 24 agencies covered under the CFO Act; year after year, several of the agencies did not receive a clean audit opinion from his office.
“If the federal government was a private corporation and the same report came out this morning, our stock would be dropping and there would be talk about whether the company’s management and directors needed a major shake-up,” he said at the time.
On March 12, Walker will step down from the GAO to become president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a new organization that will act as an educator and a supporter of changes in government. “My new position will provide me with the ability and resources to more aggressively address a range of current and emerging challenges facing our country, including advocating specific policy solutions and courses of action,” he says.
Through his new job, Walker hopes to continue encouraging the U.S. government to become more sustainable fiscally. Still, he says the decision to resign has been “difficult.”
In its announcement of Walker’s departure, the GAO praised him for helping transform the agency’s role and making the agency more visible. He “has worked to modernize the accountability profession both domestically and internationally,” the GAO stated.