Southampton’s Executive Chairman Nicola Cortese has reportedly handed in a written resignation on Wednesday.
The former Swiss banker conducted the deal to buy Southampton on behalf of Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr in 2009, but has now come to loggerheads with new owner Katharina Liebherr, who took over from her father after he passed away in August 2010.
The Italian chairman almost walked away from St Mary’s in May of last year after stressing to Miss Liebherr that he was concerned about the future direction of the club but was later convinced to stay.
With the departure of Cortese, the future of Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino’s future will be cast in serious doubt after the South American stressed last May that his involvement at the club was dependent on his chairman staying in charge.
"I would not understand staying in this role if Nicola was not here," Pochettino said.
"The person who actually called me from the start, told me about the project and put the faith in me, was Nicola," the Saints boss added.