Anthony Finn is to retire as chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, TESS can reveal.
But Mr Finn, who took on the role in 2008 and led the GTCS as it gained independence from the Scottish government, said he intended to continue playing an active role in education.
Education secretary Michael Russell paid tribute to Mr Finn, 61, for steering the GTCS's transition into "an independent, profession-led regulatory body - the first in the UK and, possibly, anywhere in the world".
Mr Finn, a former languages teacher, headteacher and education manager, has overseen several other important developments, including new professional standards and the initially controversial "professional update" for teachers, to which opposition softened.
Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, said: "Tony's done a good job in difficult times - it wasn't an easy thing to do to take the GTCS through to its independent role."
He added that Mr Finn, who will retire at the end of September, "came with a significant experience of life in school and understood schools and teachers, and I think that's been seen in the way he's managed the council".
John Stodter, general secretary of education directors' body ADES, described Mr Finn as "tailor-made for the role", given his experience in local authorities and with personnel and staffing matters.
He said Mr Finn would typically set the right tone and not be "distracted by political issues", adding: "It's looking good for whoever comes in next."
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said Mr Finn would be a hard act to follow, and added: "Tony has always been keen to engage in dialogue with ourselves as a professional association and to take on board the views of teachers."