The long serving chief executive of the West Midlands EEF lobby group announced he will be standing down.
It follows a national restructuring that will see the organisation merge with its East Midlands partner.
Ian Smith, at the manufacturers' organisation since 2001, urged members to vote for the consolidation.
It went through despite criticism from Midlands businessman Jeremy Woolridge.
The EEF has launched a search for a director to take over the Midalnds helm.
Mr Smith - on the board of the MG Rover taskforce - worked with the EEF to help employees at Longbridge.
He found new companies for all the apprentices who lost jobs. He said restructuring was the best opportunity for early retirement.
EEF West Midlands president Barrie Williams said: "I want to pay tribute to Ian Smith for his commitment to developing EEF West Midlands and in helping prepare the way for this re-shaping.
"Ian worked tirelessly to promote manufacturing in the West Midlands and our sincere thanks and best wishes go to him."
The EEF announced the start of the search for a replacement after a ballot of members.
The re-structuring will see EEF in the East and West Midlands combine resources to provide better services for the manufacturing, engineering and technology-based sectors.
The existing centres will be kept, including the EEF's Apprentice Training School and its flagship centre at Woodland Grange near Leamington Spa.
Terry Slater, director of EEF in the South West, will take over as acting director to oversee the transitional process.
Mr Williams added: "By combining forces with EEF East Midlands we will be able to provide an even better range of services to members to ensure the interests of the sector are well looked after.
"Manufacturing has seen a resurgence and it is essential EEF is prepared to support the sector. We are now seeking an individual of the highest calibre."