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July 30, 2015 2:00 PM, EDT

Tony Tata, N.C. Secretary of Transportation, Resigns

North Carolina Secretary of Transportation A.J. “Tony” Tata resigned July 28 and was immediately replaced by the department’s chief deputy secretary on an interim basis.

Tata is a retired brigadier general who served in the Army for 28 years until 2009. He became department secretary in January 2013, appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, whose administration started the same month.

The state DOT said Nick Tennyson is now acting as department secretary. Prior to joining NCDOT in 2013, he was mayor of Durham, North Carolina, from 1997 to 2001.

MORE VIDEO: Tata explains 'why now' (WRAL.com)

“Tony Tata has been a valuable partner in our efforts to reform and modernize North Carolina’s transportation system,” McCrory said in a statement announcing Tata’s resignation that was effective immediately. “His dedication to the people of North Carolina is in keeping with his long career of service to his community, state and country.”

An NCDOT statement said Tennyson had a business career in real estate development and that he is a Navy veteran.

Tata is an action-thriller novelist who has published two writings and has a third slated for release this spring, according to newsobserver.com. "I’m going to take a step back," Tata told the media outlet. "[My wife] Jodi and I are going to talk about the future and what opportunities might be out there."