Malcolm Speed, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive, will step down from the role when his current term ends next year, according to an ICC spokesman.
"Malcolm will not be seeking an extension beyond next year's annual conference (in June-July) at Lord's," the spokesman said.
The 58-year-old Australian took over the job in 2001 after serving four years as chief executive of the Australian cricket board.
Speed has faced criticism in recent months over this year's World Cup in West Indies and the handling of problems with the Zimbabwe board, whose depleted team remain suspended from tests.
He also had to deal with last year's controversy which led to Australian Darrell Hair's sacking from the ICC's elite umpiring panel after Pakistan blamed him for their forfeiting the Oval test after they were penalised for ball-tampering.
The ICC spokesman denied such issues had influenced Speed's decision.
"It is an absolutely personal decision and he had already taken all the ICC staff into confidence," he said.
"The game has grown tremendously under his leadership, both in terms of development as well as financially."
The spokesman was referring to the signing of the ICC's multi-million dollar contract for global events until 2015 and the game's rapid expansion with as many as 101 national boards now affiliated to the ruling body.