Aston Villa have been rocked by the news that chief executive Bruce Langham has resigned from his post with the midlands club.
Langham's departure has been confirmed in a two paragraph statement issued this afternoon by Villa to the Stock Exchange.
No reasons are being given at this juncture as to why Langham, who previously held a similar post at Fulham, has decided to step down.
But the timing will have stunned Villa given the enthusiasm with which Langham has been talking about the future in recent weeks.
He had devised a three-year plan aimed at re-establishing Villa as one of the leading clubs in the Barclays Premiership after years of mediocrity.
This included substantial investment in the team and a significant revamp of the club's out-dated training facilities at Bodymoor Heath.
Langham moved into the current role on a permanent basis 12 months ago - a position which Doug Ellis had previously combined with his role as chairman.
There is no evidence that his decision to quit is because of a breakdown in his relationship with Ellis.
Villa fans had called a truce in their prolonged protest against Ellis after details of Langham's long-term vision had been made public.
The statement to the Stock Exchange read: "Aston Villa announces that its CEO, Bruce Langham, has resigned from the board.
"Further details on when this will take effect and on his replacement will be announced in due course. The company wishes to thank Bruce Langham for his contribution to date."Reuse content