Newcastle Falcons chief executive Paul Varley has stepped down after less than a year in charge of the rugby club.
The businessman, who took on the role in January 2013, has officially left both his role as a director and company secretary of Falcons owners Newcastle Rugby Limited.
But both the club and Mr Varley say there is no ill will - with the ex-CEO saying he is already looking forward to seeing Dean Richards team turning out against Northampton at the weekend.
“I’ve stepped down as chief executive - but then I never had the intention to be chief executive in the first place,” said Mr Varley, who is also the managing director of renewables specialists Carillion Energy Services.
“I’ll revert back to the role I had previously, continue my work with the LEP and focus on that, and move onto other things.
“I’m still chair of the community foundation and I’m still going to be around the club.
“I don’t want anyone to think anything untoward has happened.
“The team has another big important game this week and I’m looking forward to watching.”
Mr Varley said he hoped Dean Richards and the team could continue to a “terrific job” on the pitch, while off the field he said fans could be reassured that the club was doing “great” and going “from strength to strength.”
A spokesman for the club confirmed that Mr Varley had left his post and documents had been filed with Companies House on November 11 to that effect.
“We thank Paul for his work and wish him all the very best for the future,” he said.
Newcastle Falcons currently sit ninth in the 12 team Aviva Premiership, 11 points ahead of bottom team Worcester Warriors.
On Saturday they face an away trip to second placed side Northampton and will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the recent 40-3 hiding they suffered at the hands of league leaders Saracens.