The nation's top accounting standard setter is retiring.

Robert Herz, the chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, announced Tuesday that he will step down after eight years. Leslie Seidman, a FASB board member since 2003 and a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. accounting policy vice president, was appointed acting chairman, effective Oct. 1.

The personnel change comes at a crucial moment for the FASB, which came under an unprecedented amount of political pressure in the wake of the financial crisis to revisit rules on financial instrument valuations, while also trying to stay on track with plans to converge U.S. and foreign standards for corporate accounting.

The Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees the FASB and selects its board, also announced it will expand the FASB by two members to return to the seven-member board structure that was in place from the FASB's inception in 1973 until 2008. The process of recruiting and evaluating candidates is expected to be finished in early 2011.

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