Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s chief of staff, Gary Grindler, is leaving the department this week after serving in various high-level roles since 2009.

Grindler, who joined the department’s Criminal Division as a deputy assistant attorney general under the leadership of Lanny Breuer in April 2009, served as the second-in-command at DOJ in 2010 after the departure of David Ogden.

Holder named Grindler—a former white-collar defense and government investigations partner at King & Spalding—chief of staff in January 2011. Grindler had worked under Holder during the Clinton administration.

Holder said in a statement Monday that Grindler “has distinguished himself as an exceptional public servant, a trusted adviser, and a principled leader.”

The timing of Grindler’s decision to leave the department comes between administrations, when it’s not uncommon to see changes in federal agency leadership posts.

It was unclear where Grindler would practice next. Wick Sollers, the King & Spalding managing partner in Washington, said Grindler is a “terrific lawyer who made a lot of sacrifices in dedicating himself to public service” the last several years.

“This has been, for me, for the last three-plus years, really the most gratifying time of my entire career,” Grindler said.

The DOJ said Grindler, as chief of staff, played a key role in the negotiation of the criminal settlement—$4 billion in fines and penalties—with BP. The deal, which Holder, Breuer and others top officials recently announced in New Orleans, marked the largest-ever criminal resolution in U.S. history.

Grindler led the steering committee of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and he served as the chairman of the Task Force on Intellectual Property. In the Criminal Division, as a deputy assistant attorney general, Grindler had oversight of the fraud and appellate sections.

From the Blog of Legal Times