Chelsea have confirmed that Chief Executive Ron Gourlay will leave the club after ten years of service in order to pursue 'further business opportunities'.
Gourlay, who was at the club when Chelsea claimed back-to-back Premier League titles in 2004 and 2005, has held the position of chief executive for the last five years. He was also on board when Chelsea claimed Champions League glory in 2012.
Having replaced Peter Kenyon in the top job, Gourlay has helped turn around Chelsea's financial fortunes and ensured they steered clear of any punishment from UEFA under their new Financial Fair Play rules after they announced record loses of almost £50 million last year.
A statement on Chelsea's website read: "The club, and in particular the owner and directors, wish to thank Ron for his many years of service to Chelsea and support his desire to seek new challenges. Ron’s efforts have helped the club to achieve its position as one of the leading football clubs in the world."
Chairman Bruce Buck and Director Marina Granovskaia will take up Gourlay's responsibilities in his absence pending any appointments.
"It has been a privilege to have played a role in the club’s considerable achievements both on and off the pitch over the last 10 years, but I feel the time is right to move on to other challenges," Gourlay said. "I would like to thank Mr Abramovich, the directors, the manager and players and all the staff for their support during my time at the club, and wish them much continued success in the future."
It hasn't been all plain sailing during Gourlay's tenure, and both he and the Chelsea board were heavily criticised for their handling of the incident between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand back in 2010, as well as the appointment and subsequent sacking of Andre Villas-Boas amongst other managers.
However Chelsea appear much more settled now under Jose Mourinho who is in his second spell at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are currently at the top of the table and are unbeaten after eight games. They will put their record on the line when they go up against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.