Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, has announced he will retire in 2012.
A statement from the charity said Hughes-Hallett, who has led the organisation for the past 12 years, would hand over to a new chief executive by the end of the year to spend time "encouraging more people to give and people to give more".
This was one of the aims of the Philanthropy Review, the sector-led inquiry into giving and philanthropy that he chaired last year.
A spokeswoman for the charity said Hughes-Hallett’s exact departure date would depend on when a new chief executive was available.
John Varley, chair of Marie Curie Cancer Care, said in a statement that the charity had prospered and developed under Hughes-Hallett’s leadership.
He said the charity’s board would recommend to its annual general meeting in September that Hughes-Hallett be appointed to the voluntary position of vice-president.
"In this role, he will provide particular support to the charity in strengthening our links with key stakeholders, including major donors, health services and government," said Varley.
Other vice-presidents of the charity include Martyn Lewis, chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.