(CNN) – The communications director for Gov. Mark Sanford said Friday he will step down from his post, weeks after the South Carolina Republican disappeared for five days and later admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.
Joel Sawyer - who, like the rest of Sanford's staff, did not know where the governor had gone but was tasked with explaining his whereabouts to the press - said in a statement he will leave the governor's office in August to pursue opportunities in the private sector. He also said his decision was not related to the ongoing controversy surrounding Sanford.
"I want to be crystal clear that my departure is purely about what's best for me and my family on a personal and financial level," he said. "I wish Mark and the rest of my talented and dedicated colleagues the best."
In a separate statement, Sanford praised Sawyer as "a wonderfully devoted and skillful member of our team."