BAE chief executive Mike Turner has announced his resignation only months after stating he wished to remain in the post for at least five more years.
Turner, who has held the position since 2001 and has been with BAE for 42 years, is expected to leave the company in August 2008.
In February this year, Turner told UK newspaper The Sunday Times he definitely wanted to be part of the company’s future.
"We have a very good business plan here, and while it would always be a matter for the shareholders and for the board, I don't want to be going anywhere," he said.
Turner says the decision to leave is his and has the support of the board.
Turner says he was looking for "a new challenge" which could include becoming chairman of a major company and taking up non-executive directorships.
By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh