The chair of the General Medical Council (GMC), Professor Sir Peter Rubin, has decided to stand down at the end of 2014.
Although Sir Peter's term extends for a further two years, he believes going now is "right for the organisation" in terms of periodically refreshing the leadership.
Sir Peter has been chair of the GMC for nearly six years, and has been involved with the organisation which registers doctors for 15 years.
He said: "Chairing the GMC is an enormous privilege and pleasure. We have agreed that our corporate strategy for 2014/17 and I am confident that I will be leaving an organisation that has excellent leadership from both the Council and senior executive team, and the ability to take this ambitious programme of work forward."
An appointments process will be held to fill the vacancies. The chair’s successor is expected to be announced in the summer.