The man behind Second Life is stepping down from his role as head of the company that created the virtual world.
Linden Lab is the company behind the Second Life virtual world
Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale will become the company's chairman once a new head for the firm has been hired.
In a statement Mr Rosedale he would stay at the company and work on strategy and design for Second Life.
He added that he would contribute more to Linden Lab doing these tasks rather than in the day-to-day job of growing and managing the company.
Writing on the Second Life blog, Mr Rosedale said: "I will be 100% involved and fulltime at Linden Lab. Second Life is my life's work, and I am not going anywhere."
He added that his passion for Second Life was "undiminished".
In taking on the role of chairman Mr Rosedale will replace computer industry veteran Mitch Kapor - the co-founder of Lotus. Mr Kapor will continue as a board member at Linden.
Mr Kapor said Mr Rosedale's decision had been "expected" and was not triggered by any specific event. He told the Reuters news agency that it could take "many months" to find a new head.
The announcement marks the second high-profile staff change at Linden Lab in three months. In late 2007 Cory Ondrejka, chief technology officer for Linden, left following reported differences over strategy among the company's executives.
Linden Lab was founded in 1999 and its most high-profile creation is Second Life - in which people create and adorn avatars and that live out a parallel existence in the online space.
Second Life has been the poster child for the growing interest in virtual worlds. This has resulted in huge numbers of people signing up to look around Second Life though evidence suggests relatively few are becoming dedicated residents.