RFL chairman Richard Lewis will leave the governing body at the end of April to take up the role of chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon.
Nigel Wood, RFL chief executive, said: “It is my firm belief that history will record Richard’s stewardship of rugby league as a golden decade for the sport where considerable progress was achieved across all fronts.
“He brought integrity, independence and credibility to everything he and the RFL did, and he leaves safe in the knowledge that the sport is undeniably in a far better condition than when he joined in 2002.”
Lewis said: “I leave the RFL after 10 fulfilling years during which the sport has grown and prospered. I am extremely grateful to all the colleagues with whom I have had the privilege to work.
“Rugby league is a wonderful sport full of great people in both the professional and community games. I have enjoyed tremendous support during my tenure, from the board, colleagues at the RFL and throughout the sport in general.
“I leave with a mixture of sadness but also excitement at taking up another wonderful opportunity.”
Senior non-executive director Maurice Watkins CBE will take over as interim chairman.
Watkins said: “I will be working with my board colleagues to identify the skills we require for a new chairman to take the game on to the next exciting stage of its development.
“At the same time we will take this opportunity to review the game’s governance arrangements for the next era, in consultation with all our stakeholders.
“Whilst tough economic conditions are proving challenging for all sports clubs at present, we believe this is a great moment for someone to come in and help shape the future of a very successful sport.
“We expect there to be considerable interest from high quality candidates who wish to build on Richard’s achievements in the role of chairman.”
Read Friday’s Wakefield Express for more of the latest rugby league news.