The chief executive of the Health Service Executive, Paul Reid, is to leave the HSE.
Mr Reid, who became a household name and face during the fight against Covid, will step down from his position later this year.
The HSE said Mr Reid had agreed with the chairman that he will step down in December 2022, allowing a period to advance the process of selecting a successor.
It said Mr Reid had no immediate career plans.
Mr Reid said he was making the decision with a heavy heart, and that leaving the HSE was the hardest decision he had ever made in relation to his own career.
“Having previously worked in the private, not for profit, central and local government sectors, working in the HSE has been by far the greatest period in my career. It has been truly rewarding leading an organisation whose staff come to work every day to make people’s lives better,” he said.
“No organisation will ever match the commitment, dedication and relentless willingness to go beyond the call of duty that I have witnessed as we battled multiple waves of Covid, a criminal cyberattack while driving a significant reform agenda. This has been truly inspirational for me to experience.”
Mr Reid said he wanted to spend more time with his family who had made many sacrifices to support him.
He said another factor influencing his decision was a belief that the HSE was entering a new phase and that the appointment of a new leader was now timely.
Paying tribute to Mr Reid, the chairman of the HSE, Ciarán Devane, said: “It is with very great regret that I and the Board have heard of Paul’s decision. He has led the health service through what has been the greatest challenge it has ever faced, and done so with relentless dedication and professionalism.
“We are very grateful that he will stay in his role for a further period to allow us progress the extremely difficult task of replacing him.”