Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley is leaving his job as the nation's chief financial crime fighter to run the Queenstown District Council.

Mr Feeley said he broke the news he was leaving to his staff and minister Anne Tolley today. After delivering the news, he flew to Queenstown and signed the contract this afternoon.

Speaking from Queenstown, Mr Feeley said the new job was the answer to a long-time "hankering" to move to the town.

"For people who know me, this will come as no surprise."


He said he had been married in Queenstown and visited the town about four times a year.

The new role comes after two high profile jobs - Mr Feeley went to the SFO after leading the redevelopment of Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup. He went into the SFO under minister Judith Collins, dropping as a target the percentage conviction rate often used to criticise the organisation. The move came as part of the biggest shakeup of the organisation since the days of the Winebox.

In his time there, Mr Feeley has overseen investigations into finance companies, including that owned by Timaru's Allan Hubbard. He also saw ASB Bank manager Stephen Versalko jailed for the country's largest employee fraud of $17 million. He also landed in hot water after it emerged he had toasted the arrest of Bridgecorp's Rod Petricevic with a bottle of champagne once belonging to the finance company boss.

Mr Feeley said the SFO job was "one of the toughest jobs I've done" with "constant public scrutiny".

SFO minister Anne Tolley said she wished Mr Feeley well in his new role. "Adam Feeley has done a great job focusing the SFO on tackling white-collar crime, especially around finance companies," she said.