Peter Doust, the longest-serving NRL club boss, will retire at the end of the season.
St George Illawarra announced Doust’s decision on Thursday after 18 years in the position.
Doust oversaw the early days of the fledgling club after the merger of the St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, with the joint venture club winning one premiership in his almost 20-year tenure.
“I have, and will continue, to thoroughly enjoy my time in the role,” Doust said.
“I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to be the CEO of the Dragons and to have had a career in rugby league.
“I made the decision over the holiday break, in consultation with my family, and I wanted to give [chairman] Brian [Johnston] appropriate notice to allow he and the board, the opportunity to plan for the future.
“Essentially after 25 years in health care and 18 years in rugby league, I am at the stage in my life where I would like the time to pursue other interests. Rugby league by its very nature, never stops.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the role and am extremely passionate about the club and remain focused on its objectives before I finish up. However, I don’t believe that now is the time to reflect on my time at the Dragons.”
Doust has been one of the most polarising figures in rugby league. His retirement will likely be welcomed by sections of the club’s fan base who have long called for his resignation, with the infamous “oust Doust” banners once conspicuous on the hill at Jubilee Oval.
One of Doust’s greatest achievements was attracting legendary coach Wayne Bennett to the club in 2009, with Bennett going on to end St George’s 31-year wait for a premiership a year later.
The announcement ensures he will go out on his own terms, with Doust now expected to turn his attention to securing WIN Corporation’s long mooted purchase of the club.
Johnston paid tribute to Doust and outlined the club’s plans for the future.
“I have the highest respect for Peter. His passion, dedication and leadership have been first class,” Johnston said.
“His loyalty to the club, the staff and players has always been unwavering and we are very fortunate to have had him leading our club as CEO.
“Rugby league is a very challenging and dynamic environment and he deserves enormous credit for his leadership, trust and resilience.
“He has always ensured the Dragons’ interests were heard and considered at every level of the game and we are grateful that he has given the board appropriate time to consider a replacement and assist with any transition.”
Doust is expected to remain on the club’s board.