The RFU has confirmed that their head of elite referee development Ed Morrison is to leave his post.
Morrison, who took charge of the 1995 World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand in Johannesburg, was named referees' chief five years ago.
But his departure has been announced on the eve of the new Aviva Premiership, with Premiership Rugby keen to recognise his impact on the game.
"Ed has made a huge contribution to the game of rugby union over the last 20 plus years and, in particular, the development of the professional match officials' programme," said Premiership Rugby's rugby director Phil Winstanley.
"The whole game owes him huge gratitude for his professionalism and commitment as both a referee and a referee manager.
"He has provided magnificent support for Aviva Premiership rugby clubs and has played a big part in the development of our competition.
"Ed has huge respect around the world for what he has achieved, and his departure from the RFU leaves a massive hole to fill."