The Department of Conservation's director-general is quitting to take up a new job as the deputy State Services Commissioner.
Al Morrison has led DoC since late 2006.
The search for a new director-general will begin within weeks, although Mr Morrison will remain at the department until 9 September.
He is overseeing a restructuring in which 140 jobs are being cut and conservancy boundaries changed to help meet a savings target of $8.7 million.
About 140 people gathered at Parliament in Wellington on Wednesday to protest about the changes at the department.
The State Services Commission says Al Morrison is committed to supporting DoC staff and seeing the restructuring process through.
In his new job, Mr Morrison will be responsible for ensuring that state agencies are moving fast enough to make the public service more efficient.