This story has been amended. See final paragraph.
Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo’s, will step down in June to set up her own consultancy.
Carrie, who joined the charity in November 2010, will leave to run her own company, which will provide advice and guidance to organisations working in education, child protection and welfare, a spokeswoman for the charity said.
Carrie, who was deputy chief executive of Kensington & Chelsea Council before joining Barnardo’s, said in a statement: "It has been my joy and pleasure to have led Barnardo’s through several highly successful years, in developing a new vision, updating its purpose and initiating the implementation of new ways of working that will ensure Barnardo’s transforms the lives of even more vulnerable children and young people in the future.
"I have been humbled by the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of Barnardo’s staff, volunteers and supporters in their efforts to transform the lives of the most vulnerable children in the UK. I am confident that I am leaving Barnardo’s in a strong position for the future and in capable hands."
The charity said it had started the recruitment process for a new chief executive. In the meantime, the board of trustees had asked deputy chief executive Peter Brook to become acting chief executive when Carrie leaves.
Barnardo’s board of trustees thanked Carrie for her leadership, which led to the launch of a new strategic plan for the charity. "We are well on the way to implementing the strategy, which will ensure the organisation is true to its roots and fit for the future," the trustees said in a statement. "We wish her every success with her future endeavours."
The original story said the charity had started a recruitment process for a new chair. This has been corrected to chief executive.