Music Publishers Association CEO Stephen Navin is to leave the trade body in June, he has confirmed to Music Week.
Navin, who has held the position for seven years, has accepted an offer to read history at Oxford University - an opportunity he calls a "dream come true".
Having tendered his resignation, he will stand down as chief exec at the MPA's AGM on June 25.
Prior to taking up his position at the MPA, Navin was the music advisor to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and was VP operations for BMG Europe and then CEO of the V2 Music Group.
Navin told Music Week: "I have long dreamed a dream that I might go to Oxford University to read History. And the dream seems to have come true and I have seized the day!
"Assuming I get past Freshers' week, the 'working' hours - eight week terms - do not seem unduly punishing (at least for a modern music publisher) and I hope to be able to offer my humble services to our industry if called upon from time to time which could be particularly advantageous, embedded as I shall be in the bosom of academe.
"I have had a wonderful seven years and more at the MPA, made particularly fun and exciting by having a great Chairman in Chris Butler, (and outstanding predecessors in Nigel Elderton and Paul Curran), a quality Board, and a great MPA team.
"I shall be very sorry to stand down as CEO - in many ways I sense that the very best of times lie ahead for the MPA, the MCPS, our schools licensing arm PMLL and music publishing in general."
As well as being a qualified solicitor, Navin has also worked in film and television production and distribution for the Virgin Group. He established a publishing company that specialises in limited edition books.
A note from MPA chairman Chris Butler said that "it will be business as usual" until Navin stands down "whilst we consider our options for the future".
He added: "This is wonderful news for Stephen and I am delighted for him. At the same time I am very sorry to be losing such a charismatic leader of our trade association, particularly at this time of change for the UK music publishing industry. We will all miss him and I am sure many of us will stay in touch with Stephen, both professionally and personally."
The MPA promises to safeguard and promote the interests of music publishers and the writers signed to them, whilst representing their interests to government, the music industry, the media and the public.
The trade body has around 260 members, representing nearly 4000 catalogues, covering every genre of music.
At the group's last AGM in July 2012, Navin encouraged publishers to be prepared for "big publishing, a big MPA... and thinking big" as they pressed goverment for fairer copyright reform together.