Community Relations Council chief executive Duncan Morrow is leaving to return to the University of Ulster after nine years in charge of the body.
CRC chairman Tony McCusker said Dr Morrow had served the council magnificently. “He is rightly acknowledged as the leading commentator in Northern Ireland on conflict resolution and peace building.
“He has moulded the CRC into a very effective public body which enjoys enormous respect in the public, business and community sectors.
“He has influenced many public policies and is highly regarded for his role in articulating society’s expectations of government in the development of a shared future strategy.”
Mr McCusker added: “Most notably, Duncan argued a litmus test for any devolved administration was its ability to address the remaining and continuing divisions in society and to shape public policies accordingly.”
Dr Morrow said: “Sectarianism remains a blight on this society and it will take a concerted and determined effort if we are to eliminate it.
“I pay tribute to the staff, who are dedicated to the work of building the peace. I believe the organisation has a key role to play as the Executive takes forward the work of developing a shared and better future.”