Peter Fletcher, brought into the pound;100,000 post at Hull, is to quit just a year after he was appointed.
The former school and LEA inspector replaced Joan Taylor, castigated locally for failing to lift the city up the table during her four years at the helm.
Ms Taylor took early retirement and left Hull in summer 2001 when just 27.5 per cent of pupils gained five A* to C grade GCSEs. This year, the figure was 29 per cent, compared to the national average of 51 per cent.
Mr Fletcher's decision to leave follows a council shake-up which would have made him one of five new corporate directors in charge of all council business.
He said: "I was flattered to be asked to do the job but decided that I need to have more direct contact with schools than it would allow."