Michael Malone has resigned today from his role as CEO and Board director of iiNet.
Malone, who has been on a sabbatical from the telco since November, made the decision to leave permanently while on leave.
At the time, he said he was taking leave to recharge his batteries. "Over the past three months, I've had the opportunity to pursue activities I'm passionate about, and taken time out to meet many inspirational individuals from across the globe," Malone said.
"During this time away from the business, it became clear to me leading iiNet and its passionate staff requires 24x7 commitment, energy and enthusiasm. I have been able to achieve that for over 20 years but have come to the point where I want to dedicate my time to other opportunities."
He admitted it will be "incredibly hard for me to move on but I plan to keep a strong relationship with the company and all of its staff, many of whom are close friends."
It is not known what his next move will be.
"This is an ideal time to leave - iiNet is in the best financial shape it has ever been and has a strong growth plan for future success."
Australia's second largest DSL Internet Service Provider reported net profit after tax up 19% to $31 million for the half year to December 31, and sales up 4%. Malone founded Perth-based iiNet in a garage back in 1993. David Buckingham will continue to act in the role of iiNet CEO for the interim, but could be made permanent if another suitable candidate is not found.
The Board will be conducting an international search for a new CEO appointing a search firm in the next few days, and hopes to conclude the process before 30 June. "The board will ensure that the next iiNet CEO is the best available. If that turns out to be David, we will be delighted," said iiNet Chairman, Michael Smith.
Smith paid tribute to Malone, saying, "Michael is a legend and a telecommunications visionary; he has been the foundation of iiNet's success.
"We are committed to ensuring his legacy and story lives on through a continued commitment to service excellence, challenging the status quo, thinking for ourselves and growing."