The chief executive of NorthTec has resigned ahead of what he terms "big challenges" for the organisation.

Paul Binney, who has headed Northland's flagship tertiary institution for the past 13 years, handed in his resignation on Friday.

In an email sent to staff, Mr Binney said he would be involved in "a few key projects" over the next month as the organisation transitioned to new leadership.

"I've been with NorthTec for just over 13 years, which is far longer than I'd envisaged when I joined in 2003," he said.

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"The organisation is much stronger ... But there are some big challenges ahead and, after some reflection, I believe it's best that I allow someone else with a fresh approach and commitment to lead NorthTec through these challenges."

Mr Binney declined to be interviewed by the Advocate. NorthTec chair Vern Dark issued a statement thanking Mr Binney for his service.

"[Mr Binney] has led the organisation through a period of major change in terms of Government funding via the Tertiary Education Commission and has also overseen significant progress for NorthTec in the international education market," Mr Dark said.

He said he would be working with the NorthTec Council to appoint Mr Binney's successor.