Environment Agency Chairman Sir Philip Dilley, who came under fire during the recent floods, has resigned.
Sir Philip said he had quit as the "expectations of the role have expanded to require the Chairman to be available at short notice throughout the year" - a requirement he felt was "inappropriate".
He insisted he was well-qualified to carry out the role but media scrutiny on him was "diverting attention" from efforts to help the thousands affected by flooding.
Last week, Sir Philip admitted to MPs that he "should have come home earlier from Barbados" after the extent of the flooding devastation became clear.
In his resignation statement, he also denied making any misleading statements apart from the one "about my location over Christmas that in hindsight could have been clearer".
Elizabeth Truss, the environment secretary, paid tribute to the outgoing chairman, saying he had led the agency through "some challenging times and leaves it a much better organisation".
"We will begin the task of recruiting a permanent replacement in due course," she said in a statement accepting Sir Philip's resignation.
Sir Philip Dilley's resignation statement in full
I have today told the Secretary of State of my decision to step down as Chairman of the Environment Agency, and she has accepted my resignation.