Chairman David Pickering has failed in his bid to be re-elected to the board of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Ex-Wales captain Pickering was seeking re-election for one of two available national appointed director posts.
Dragons chief executive Gareth Davies and Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan won more votes than Pickering.
Pickering, chairman since 2003, will stand down at the WRU's AGM on 19 October when the 18-strong board will be reformed.
"I'm hugely pleased with the great success Wales has had and I am delighted to have played my part in Welsh rugby history," Pickering said..
"I want to be the first to publicly congratulation both Anthony and Gareth on winning the vote.
"I know both of them personally, they are great rugby men and I will be offering them all the help I can as they join the board of the Welsh Rugby Union."
Pickering will leave the WRU board after a 15-year term, although remaining on the board of Rugby World Cup Ltd, to which he was appointed by the International Rugby Board.
The former Neath and Llanelli flanker said he hoped to introduce a series of governance reforms before stepping down at the WRU AGM in October.
The shock exit may be a backlash against the WRU's handling of the regional rugby dispute and dissatisfaction among the clubs over the protracted nature of the row between Regional Rugby Wales and the union.
Capped 23 times by Wales, Pickering served as the national team's manager during Graham Henry's tenure as head coach and has been an IRB council member for over 10 years.
Former Wales and Llanelli prop Buchanan and Davies, the former Wales and Cardiff fly-half, succeed Pickering and former Wales and British and Irish Lions wing Gerald Davies on the WRU board.
Davies announced in July he would not be seeking re-election.
Dennis Gethin will serve a further three-year term as WRU president after being unopposed.