Jim Mallinder has been sacked by Northampton Saints after more than 10 years as the club’s director of rugby.
Saints, Premiership champions in 2014, are currently 10th and on the brink of elimination from the European Champions Cup after Saturday’s defeat by Ospreys.
The 51-year-old, who was appointed in June 2007, signed a new five-year deal after their top-flight triumph.
“The board and major shareholders felt that the time was right for some change,” said chairman John White.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Jim has been an outstanding director of rugby.
“We have been very lucky to have him at Franklin’s Gardens and he will always be a part of the Saints family.”
Attack coach Alan Dickens will take over as interim head coach while Northampton embark upon “an extensive search to find a world-class director of rugby”.
Former Sale full-back Mallinder took over at Franklin’s Gardens following spells as head coach with both the Sharks and England Saxons.
He twice guided Saints to the European Challenge Cup, in 2009 and 2014, as well as the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2010.
But, despite topping the Premiership table one year on from their 2014 double, the club went on to lose in the semi-finals and have failed to lift another major trophy since.