Chris Patten is standing down after having major heart surgery at the end of last month. He was due to remain in the role until the end of 2015.
He has held the role for the past three years, during which time the BBC has undergone perhaps its biggest crisis in years following the Jimmy Savile sex offences expose and criticism over executive pay.
Handling of the former issue lead to the exit of George Entwistle as director general and the subsequent hire of current incumbent Tony Hall. More recently, the BBC has come under fire for planning to scrap youth-skewed channel BBC Three as a linear platform.
Patten said it had been a “privilege” to lead the BBC Trust, and called the BBC a “huge national asset”.
However, having taken both medical and familial advice, “I have concluded that I cannot continue to work at the same full pace as I have done to date, and that I should reduce the range of roles I undertake”.
Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has accepted Patten’s resignation. No word on his replacement was forthcoming this morning.