The chairman of Pearson, the FTSE-100 education and media group which owns the Financial Times, is to step down after a decade at the helm.
Sky News can reveal that Glen Moreno, one of the most widely respected figures in British business, is preparing to leave the company later this year.
Sources said on Tuesday that Pearson's nominations committee had enlisted JCA Group, a City headhunting firm, to oversee the process of recruiting Mr Moreno's successor.
The search is expected to be led by Vivienne Cox, the senior independent director, and is likely to result in an appointment during the second half of the year.
Existing non-executives and external candidates are expected to be considered.
Mr Moreno took over as Pearson's chairman in late 2005, when the company still bore some of the characteristics of the sprawling conglomerate it had once been.
The previous owner of a stake in Lazard, the investment bank, and the Madame Tussauds waxworks attraction, Pearson offloaded those assets to focus on its core businesses of education and financial publishing.
Since Mr Moreno's arrival, it has sold its interest in Interactive Data Systems, and ploughed the proceeds into expanding its education interests in Brazil, China and other growth markets.
He has also overseen the appointment of John Fallon as the successor to Dame Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's long-standing chief executive.
Trading has been more challenging in recent times, although Mr Fallon last week reaffirmed profit guidance to the City, saying: "Despite continuing challenging market conditions, overall we had a good competitive performance in 2014 and expect to report results in line with the guidance we gave at the start of the year.
"We enter 2015 a simpler, leaner, more cash generative business, well set for long-term growth and success, helping more people around the world make progress in their lives through learning."
Pearson continues to hold a stake in The Economist and a 47% shareholding in Penguin Random House, one of the world's largest books publishers.
Mr Moreno, who is also a non-executive director of Fidelity International, will also take over as chairman of Virgin Money, the recently listed bank, later this year.
A US citizen, he has been linked with many of the biggest jobs in British corporate life, including the chairmanships of Barclays and Prudential.
During the financial crisis of 2008, he was appointed for a short period as chairman of UK Financial Investments, the agency which manages taxpayers' stakes in bailed-out banks.
Mr Moreno then joined the board of Lloyds Banking Group, becoming deputy chairman, and has also held roles including the deputy chairmanship of the Financial Reporting Council, the accounting watchdog.
A Pearson spokesman told Sky News: "Glen Moreno continues as Pearson's chair and we have not begun an active search for a successor."