Labour MSP Peter Peacock has announced that he will stand down at the coming Scottish elections.
Mr Peacock, 58, has been a Highlands and Islands MSP since the Scottish Parliament came into being in 1999.
He served as education minister under the Labour-Lib Dem Scottish Executive and was a leader of Highland Council.
Mr Peacock said he was not retiring and hoped to find new employment that would allow him to draw on 30 years of experience in elected office.
The father-of-two also plans to write and travel.
Mr Peacock said: "I have had the most fantastic time in politics.
"I have been hugely privileged to have been able to fill senior positions in Highland Regional Council, became the first leader of Highland Council then moved onto the Scottish Parliament."
He added: "I think it is time for a new set of challenges."
Mr Peacock resigned as education minister in November 2006 for health reasons.