Athletics NZ chief executive Linda Hamersley has tendered her resignation and will leave the role in September 2017.
ANZ board chair Annette Purvis received the resignation with much disappointment, but understood Hamersley's need to move back to Australia to join husband and former Black Sticks coach Colin Batch, who was recently appointed Australian mens coach.
"It was a difficult decision to make, as I have enjoyed working with the staff and key stakeholders," said Hamersley. "Athletics is enjoying such a positive profile and engagement, and it is difficult to walk away from that.
"We are looking strong for the Tokyo Olympiad, and we are close to embarking on new corporate partnerships that will continue to increase our profile and, most importantly, provide tangible benefits back to our members."
The early resignation affords the Athletics New Zealand Board an extended notice period, which will allow a well-planned recruitment process to engage a new chief executive and ensure a smooth transition.
The time through to September will enable Hamersley to communicate with the sport on the recently adopted new five-year strategic plan and ensure the new structures are embedded through the organisation supporting a smooth transition for the incoming chief executive.
Purvis was very positive about Hamersleys contribution to the sport in her tenure in the role.
"The board acknowledges the hard work and success Linda has achieved since joining Athletics New Zealand in June 2014. She has overseen considerable improvements within the organisation and under Linda's leadership, athletics has seen a revitalisation.
"Our national office enjoys improved member relationships, as the team strive to deliver to and better understand our members needs. We have grown the member benefits programme and the membership marketing drive post the Rio Olympics is a recent example of Lindas desire to see value delivered to our members from their national office.
"Linda has also been a strong supporter of the high performance team and their strategy, which saw much success at the recent Olympics. Her ability to engage with key stakeholders - for example the centre and club roadshow in early 2016 and regular regional meetings with Athletics NZ Board members and local clubs and centres - shows her skills in bringing people together in a consultative manner, which has reaped really positive outcomes for the sport."
The board will begin the recruitment process in the next weeks.