Stephen Thompson will step down as Dundee United chairman at the end of the season.
The club made the shock announcement days after a 3-0 home defeat by Morton left them 11 points behind Ladbrokes Championship leaders St Mirren.
Thompson took over as chairman in October 2008 following the death of his father, Eddie.
A club statement read: “It was decided to make the announcement now to allow time for the board to make the decision on the way forward for Dundee United as well as ensure no distraction to the club’s battle to return to the Ladbrokes Premiership this season.”
Thompson owns a 53 per cent stake in United while his sister, Justine Mitchell, has a 35 per cent shareholding. She stepped down from the board in 2016, around the same time as her brother announced he would no longer take a salary for his role as chairman.
The club made a £1.55million loss during their relegation season of 2015-16 and planned cost-savings of a similar amount this season.
But they brought in experienced players such as Scott McDonald, James Keatings and Fraser Fyvie only to pay off manager Ray McKinnon and replace him with Csaba Laszlo in November.
Thompson has previously declared himself open to offers for his majority stake in the former UEFA Cup finalists.
In a statement, the 51-year-old said: “It has been a real honour to serve Dundee United. I have always tried to achieve the best for the club and there have been many, many happy occasions of which I am very proud.
“The Scottish Cup win in 2010 was a high point in my and many other United fans’ life.
“Relegation was a profound disappointment that will never leave me but the club is in the fortunate position of having a very strong board of directors and a financial robustness that is assisted by a number of benefactors who have been very supportive through recent years.
“I also believe it is important to acknowledge our staff who continue to work tirelessly and, most importantly, our incredibly loyal fan base who remain crucial in our aims of returning to the top league.
“The most important factor right now is that Dundee United focus on winning games and securing a place back in the Premiership – without distraction about my position.”