Sir Stephen House has announced his intention to step down as Chief Constable of Police Scotland by the end of the year - earlier than planned.
The move follows a series of high-profile incidents which saw the police chief come under growing pressure and facing calls to resign.
Sir Stephen, who had previously indicated he would not seek another police job when his contract ends in 2016, today brought the timescale for his departure forward to the end of 2015.
He told a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) in Stirling: "The dilemma is that as the leader of a national organisation that provides a vital public service 24 hours a day, every day of the year, there is never going to be a convenient time to move on.
"But after nearly 35 years as a police officer, with the last nine as a chief constable in Scotland, I believe the time is right for me to try and take up new challenges and also to allow the start of a process to recruit my successor."