The Rugby Football Union has announced that Ed Morrison, the Union's Head of Elite Referee Development, is leaving his post as the new season begins.
After retiring as a rugby union referee, an amateur until 1998, when he became the RFU's first full-time professional referee, Morrison took on a development role with the RFU before joining the newly-formed Elite Referee Unit as a Development Manager. He was appointed Head of Elite Referee Development in July 2008.
"We are immensely grateful for the role Ed has played both as a successful and respected referee and latterly in developing other senior match officials," said RFU Professional Rugby Director Rob Andrew.
"He has played a leading part in bringing a professional approach to officiating and, for the past five years, has been responsible for all officiating matters from the Aviva Premiership upwards, working closely with colleagues on the National Panel. Ed has been a fundamental part of the rugby community and I am sure, with his level of expertise, will continue to be very much part of it."
Morrison added: "Rugby has been such a huge part of my life, initially as a player and as a referee and latterly working to ensure that officiating constantly improves so that the professional game continues to flourish.
"Having broken new ground by becoming the RFU's first full-time professional referee, being part of the formation of the Elite Referee Unit and then taking charge of its development, I feel that now is the right time to hand the reins to a successor to continue the good development work and systems I have helped to put in place."