(Reuters) -- David Kotz, the inspector general at the Securities and Exchange Commission who has a reputation as a tough watchdog, is leaving the agency at the end of January, the SEC said on Tuesday.

Kotz, 45, joined the SEC in December 2007 after previously working as the inspector general of the Peace Corps.

He has made a name for himself as a prolific watchdog, investigating everything from leasing and contracting to insider-trading and even pornography-watching by agency employees. He has also faced some criticism, however, from SEC employees who have complained his tactics have led to a culture of fear at the agency.

He plans to join Gryphon Strategies, a private investigative services firm where he will serve as a managing director in its Washington office.

(Reporting By Sarah N. Lynch; editing by John Wallace)