Arb chief executive Robin Vaughan has resigned, just days after the profession's damning electoral verdict on the organisation.
Vaughan, who has been at the helm of the Arb for a turbulent six years, denied his departure was related to high-profile efforts to restrain the Arb's activities, including the election victory of five Arb Reform Group members.
Incoming Arb Reform Group board member George Oldham said Vaughan's departure was an opportunity for the Arb to take a new direction. The group wishes to see the Arb operate as a register rather than a regulator.
But Vaughan, who is to become director of professional standards at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants next month, struck a defiant note, claiming he had been looking for a new job for a year and complaining the Arb had been consistently misrepresented.
"If you look at the last market research of any repute done in relation to regulation in 2001, 96% of those questioned understood that Arb is a regulator, with overwhelming numbers saying that regulation helps safeguard the profession," he said.
Vaughan refused to be comment on lessons to be learnt from the recent election.
But Oldham said architects had clearly rejected the direction Vaughan had taken the Arb.
"The vote has exposed how wrong the tack taken over the past three years has been," he said. "Perhaps this is an opportunity for a new slate."
Arb critic and former board member Ian Salisbury said he believed Vaughan's departure was related to the reform group's challenge and called for Arb chairman Humphrey Lloyd to resign too.
Lloyd paid tribute to Vaughan, saying: "He has provided, quietly and efficiently, strong and dedicated leadership, sometimes in difficult circumstances."