The unexpected decision marks the end of an era during which the CRE has been transformed from being regarded as inefficient and marginal into a mainstream body which influences government policy.
Sir Herman Ouseley, A former chief executive of of Lambeth council and the Inner London Education Authority, will leave the commission in January 2000, after half of a renewed four-year term.
Sir Herman, 54, was born in Guyana and moved to London aged 11. He left school at 16 and took his first job as a junior clerk at Middlesex County Council. He is married with two children and lives in south London.
Sir Herman's decision to leave comes after attacks on the CRE over its controversial advertising campaigns and pronouncements about racism in schools. He said that the start of the new millennium was an "appropriate opportunity" to allow a new person to take over the post. The pounds 81,670- a-year post will be advertised for the first time by the Home Office.Reuse content