Northampton Saints have sacked long-serving director of rugby Jim Mallinder following a dismal run.
Mallinder spent a decade in charge at Franklin's Gardens but has paid the price for nine defeats in the last 10 games in all competitions.
A 43-32 home defeat to Ospreys proved to be the final straw, with Northampton bottom of European Champions Cup Pool 2 after picking up only one point from three games and languishing in 10th in the Premiership.
Saints attack coach Alan Dickens will step up as interim head coach while the club seek a permanent replacement for Mallinder.
"Jim has been an outstanding director of rugby. We have been very lucky to have him at Franklin's Gardens and he will always be a part of the Saints family," said Northampton chairman John White.
"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but the board and major shareholders felt that the time was right for some change."
Saints chief executive Mark Darbon stated: "Jim has done a superb job as Northampton Saints' director of rugby over the last decade, and the amount of silverware the club has won during his tenure speaks for itself. We thank Jim for all he has done at Franklin's Gardens.
"We will now begin an extensive search to find a world-class director of rugby to replace Jim. Whilst that search is under way, we will look to bolster our existing coaching group with some additional leadership and experience on a short-term basis for this season."
Mallinder claimed trophies in his first three seasons with Northampton and went on to lift the Premiership trophy in 2014.