David Gill will step down as Manchester United chief executive on 30 June, the Premier League club have confirmed.
Gill, 55, joined United in February 1997 as finance director before becoming chief executive in 2003. He will remain a director of the club.
Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will take over as chief executive.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Him stepping down is a big loss to me but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages me.”
He added: “If I could have found a way of persuading him to stay I would love to have done that. But he has made his decision and I respect him for it.”
Gill, a chartered accountant by profession, was named vice chairman of the Football Association in October last year and has been nominated as its candidate in the upcoming Uefa Executive Committee elections in May 2013.
“It has been the greatest privilege to serve Manchester United,” said Gill.
“I have worked alongside the finest manager in the history of the game and been part of what I consider to be the best club in the best sport in the world.
“It has been a very hard decision because I love this club and, as the fans’ banner says, it is ‘more than a religion’.
“I’ve experienced some incredible highs, such as the Treble in 1999 and the Premier League and Champions League double in 2008, and lows, like losing the title with the last kick of the season last year. But that is what makes this club and this sport so compelling.”
Gill’s 10 years as chief executive has coincided with record revenues at the club, as well as the takeover of the club by the Glazer family.
United reported a 74% rise in profits for the second half of 2012.
Total revenues were up, with income from sponsors particularly strong, though broadcast revenues were down.
The Old Trafford club still has debts of £366.6m and staff costs rose by more than 10% to £84.5m, mainly because of new player signings and player wage increases.
Gill says his decision to step down, and Woodward’s appointment as the new chief executive in June, will help to “refresh” the club.
“I’m delighted Ed has accepted the role,” he added. “I have worked with him for more than seven years.
“I am looking forward to continuing my involvement on the club board and I hope to be able to make a contribution to the game on a wider national and European level.”
Manchester United are currently top of the Premier League and in the last 16 of the Champions League, drawing 1-1 with Real Madrid in the first leg of their tie.
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Tags: Manchester United