Michael Malone has resigned as CEO and board director of iiNet.
Malone, who founded iiNet, had been on a sabbatical from his position since 2013 and made the decision to leave while on extended leave, said iiNet.
David Buckingham will continue to act as CEO until a replacement is found. The Board plans to conduct an international search for a new CEO and will reach a decision by 30 June, iiNet said.
However, the company didn't dismiss the possibility that Buckingham will take over the role permanently, iiNet said.
"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.
Malone, who has been with the company for 20 years, said he decided to move on so that he could pursue other interests.
"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."
Malone said he believes he is leaving iiNet in the best financial shape it's seen and with a strong growth plan. "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."
Telecom analysts told Computerworld Australia that they do not anticipate the decision to majorly affect operations at iiNet.
"[It] seems like this was a personal decision," said independent telecom analyst Chris Coughlan. "I don't expect it will have much impact on iiNet."
IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick said Malone's decision is not surprising.
"He had time to reflect and 20 years is very long time. It had been reckoned for a few months and the timing on vacation probably brought it into action."