Geordan Murphy has left his role as Leicester director of rugby with immediate effect a year before his contract was due to expire.
Murphy’s departure, which the Tigers say is by mutual consent, ends his 23-year association with the club he first joined as a player in 1997.
Steve Borthwick will continue as head coach and the role of director of rugby will be replaced with a position that oversees the “strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park”.
Leicester say the decision was made after discussions over Murphy’s current contract and comes shortly after the completion of the 2019-20 season when they finished 11th, spared relegation only by Saracens’ salary cap breaches.
“I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period,” Murphy said.
“I’m most proud of the respect I earned from my team-mates and colleagues, and I’m grateful to all of them for how they have helped me, supported me and shared in my time at this club.
“Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life.
“I wish the club the very best for the future on and off the pitch, and say thank you to the supporters who have been a part of my life for more than 20 years.”
However, success as a coach has been harder to come by. Murphy rose through the ranks in roles overseeing skills, backs and attack before moving on to becoming head coach and then director of rugby.
“This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester,” chairman Peter Tom said.
“Steve Borthwick understands the expectations of him, his coaching team and the playing group at Leicester Tigers on the pitch.
“We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey.”