Rob Andrew will step down as director of professional rugby with the Rugby Football Union after this season.
Before leaving the RFU the ex-England fly-half, 53, will finalise the union's latest agreement with Premiership Rugby - which will run until 2023 - over the release of England players.
"It feels like the right time," said Andrew, who joined the RFU in 2006.
He will be replaced by former England captain Nigel Melville, who has been USA Rugby chief executive since 2006.
The RFU says Melville will be responsible for professional rugby in England with particular focus around Premiership Rugby, the English Qualified Player scheme, the elite player squad (EPS) scheme and the academy system.
Former scrum-half Melville will also take over the responsibilities of former head of international player development Joe Lydon, who resigned in March.
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said it is an "exciting time" for English rugby and praised the skill set that Melville - who won 13 caps for England and played for the 1983 British and Irish Lions - will bring to the role.
"He will bring a great deal of expertise from not only his experiences working in England but internationally at USA Rugby," said Ritchie.
As Wasps director of rugby, Melville guided the club to their first Premiership title of the professional era in 1996 before moving to Gloucester in 2002, where he won the National Championship final and Powergen Cup.
Andrew enjoyed a more significant Test career, dropping a goal after 50 seconds of his England debut in 1985 against Romania and becoming a key member of the side that won three Grand Slams and reached the 1991 World Cup final.
After helping England to the semi-finals of the 1995 World Cup, he moved from Wasps to Newcastle, where he won the Premiership title at the first attempt in 1998.
After 10 years with the Falcons he left to join the RFU as elite rugby director, a role he held for five years before becoming rugby operations director and director of professional rugby.
"I hope and believe I will leave a secure foundation to build a successful future and I will continue to give my support in any way I can to achieve this," said the 1989 and 1993 Lion.
"Having played with and known Nigel for a long time I believe he is the best candidate to be appointed to take over the reins.
"I wish him well and I will support him in any way I can going forward," added Andrew, who was Melville's half-back partner in the latter's last Test in 1988.