Mencap chief executive Jan Tregelles has announced her intention to step down from the role in the autumn of 2019.
Tregelles has led Mencap since 2013 but has worked at the learning disability charity for 22 years overall.
She was the director responsible for Mencap’s personal support division for 11 years and is credited with establishing the charity’s housing arm, Golden Lane Housing.
Tregelles said: “Finding the right time to hand over the baton is always difficult particularly so when it involves an organisation and team as inspiring as Royal Mencap.
“But we are approaching the end of the first five-year phase of the Big Plan which we published in early 2015.
“It therefore feels the right time to hand over to the person who will lead the development and implementation of its strategy for the coming five years.
“Leading Mencap has been a great privilege and I am proud of what we have achieved in recent years.”
Tregelles has not yet said what her plans are for when she steps down. A Mencap spokesperson said recruitment for her successor will begin “very soon”.
Derek Lewis, the charity’s chair, said Tregelles had been “inspirational in her leadership” and said trustees were “determined to find a worthy successor”.
Lewis said Tregelles would be “greatly missed” and thanked her for agreeing to remain in post until the autumn to allow a “smooth transition”.
He said: “Jan has been inspirational in her leadership and in her dedication to the interests of people with a learning disability over more than two decades.
“Golden Lane Housing, which she created, has enabled 3,500 people with learning disabilities to occupy accommodation of a high standard, often specially adapted, within the community – offering the same living standards and life opportunities that are available to others.
“During her 11 years leading personal support services she grew the number of people we support from 3,187 to 5,216 and ensured that Mencap was among the leaders in the quality of its services.
“And as chief executive she has been the driving force behind Mencap’s ambitious Big Plan to reduce discrimination and ensure people with learning disabilities have the same opportunity as others.”