OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced Friday that Director Robert Patton will resign effective January 31, 2016.

According to a new release, Patton has accepted a position in Arizona to be closer to family. He will be on accrued leave beginning December 25.

“I appreciate the members of the board of corrections for their continued support during my time as director,” Patton said. “It has been an honor to serve this agency, the state of Oklahoma and to work with the talented people who make up the department. It has also been a privilege to work with Governor Fallin and her staff on initiatives to improve corrections within the state.”

DOC said Patton has served as director since January 2014.

An interim director will be named prior to Patton’s last day in the office. The board of corrections will immediately launch a national search to fill the position.

The resignation comes in the wake of high-profile problems with executions in the state.

The execution of convicted killer Richard Glossip was stayed in September a short time before it was to take place when DOC officials said they noticed the wrong drug was sent to the state for the lethal injection cocktail. 

The state then acknowledged it may have used the wrong drug in the execution of Charles Warner in January.

The execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014 made international headlines when problems led to Lockett dying of a heart attack.

Executions in Oklahoma are currently on hold until the state completes an investigation into the process of obtaining the lethal injection cocktail.

Governor Mary Fallin issued the following statement on Robert Patton's resignation:

“I appreciate Robert Patton’s efforts to keep our state prisons safe for both correctional officers and inmates. During his tenure, he worked to reform DOC’s internal operations to be more efficient and effective, as well as implementing the Justice Reinvestment Initiative’s corrections reform package to emphasize rehabilitation and treatment for non-violent offenders. I regret his departure, but I understand the importance of family and the need to be close to loved ones. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”