Auckland Rugby will shortly commence the search for a new chief executive after the long-serving Andy Dalton informed the board he will be retiring next year.
Former All Black Dalton was appointed in December 2005 and for more than 11 years held the dual top posts at both Auckland Rugby and the Blues.
The decision to separate the two roles was made in 2014 and former Hamilton mayor Michael Redman took over at the Blues. Dalton retained his position with Auckland but has decided that the Lions tour will bring an end to his reign.
Auckland Rugby has told stakeholders it will begin the search for a replacement shortly and that the appointment will be made before the Mitre 10 Cup kicks off in August this year.
They plan to have a near year-long transition period. Auckland have won just one title in Dalton's period in charge and the Blues had two semifinal appearances on his watch.