Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell has decided to resign from his office to pursue other opportunities.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Bell, a former real estate attorney, said the recession took a toll on his industry, creating financial strain. That and the need to shore up his footing for retirement — he turns 65 next month — prompted him to make the move.

"With those two pressures, my wife and I have decided it’s time to step down and return to the employment market," Bell said. "The governor and I have worked through this. It is difficult to leave. He’s been incredibly kind to me. … I’m a strong Gary Herbert supporter. I’m really one of his staunchest fans and will continue to be."

Herbert said he hopes to decide on a replacement by early October, in time to have the Senate confirm the new lieutenant governor in October or November. Bell will stay on until his replacement is in place. The job pays $104,000 plus benefits.

"I think he’s doing what’s in the best interest of his family and himself," Herbert told reporters Monday. "He obviously is going to leave a big hole in my team. … It’s going to be hard for me to find somebody with those same kinds of talents going forward."

Bell said he recommended a list of about 10 to 12 people who he felt would be a good replacement, but wouldn’t name them. Hebert said he has a list of three to five people of his own, and that could grow.

Bell's resignation is the latest in a series of early exits for lieutenant governors this year. Lieutenant governors in Massachusetts, Florida and Nebraska have also stepped down in recent months. The first two offices remain vacant.