Brown had been relived of his duties overseeing the hurricane relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region on Friday but had remained at the helm of FEMA in Washington.
The coordinating role was filled by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who had been in charge of relief, recovery and rescue efforts for New Orleans.
Brown said Monday that his decision is “in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president.”
“The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there,” he added.
Brown was widely assailed as the nation saw thousands of New Orleans residents stranded in the flooded city for several days with little food and water after Hurricane Katrina hit the area on Aug. 29, killing hundreds in Louisiana and Mississippi. Brown became the focus of criticism after saying he was unaware of the evacuee situation in New Orleans, despite harrowing images that had been shown on televisions for days.
Also last week, Brown’s resume came under fire for reportedly including some misleading statements about his emergency management background.
On a visit to Gulfport, Miss. Monday, President Bush said he had not yet spoken with Brown or Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. The Department of Homeland Security oversees FEMA.
Brown came to FEMA as deputy director in 2001. He became director in 2003.