RTÉ has announced that the Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, Clare Duignan, has decided to leave the company.

Speaking today, Duignan said: "Making the decision to leave RTÉ is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

"I have a huge commitment to RTÉ, to its people and what it stands for. But I now want to make the space to pursue the many other opportunities which are available to me."

"It’s an exciting chance to move into the next chapter of my career and I look forward to contributing to new areas of work with the same energy and commitment which I have always brought to my various roles in RTÉ."

Noel Curran, Director General of RTÉ, added: "Clare Duignan has been a key figure in RTÉ. She spearheaded the development of the Independent Production Unit in RTÉ Television, where her contribution was industry-changing.

"As Director of Programmes, Television, and subsequently as MD of RTÉ Radio, she has been a passionate advocate for the public service, and has placed the public service ethos at the heart of her services. We will particularly miss her deep understanding of audiences and their needs, and her expertise in strategic communications.

"Although she made her decision to stand down some time ago, I am grateful that, at my request, she has stayed on to contribute to the recently completed RTÉ Strategic Review and Multi-Annual Plan, and to steer RTÉ Radio through some difficult periods. She leaves RTÉ Radio not only with a stable audience base, but with a legacy of quality that places it among the best in the world."

Duignan, who will leave RTÉ at the end of June, after which she intends to pursue a portfolio career in a number of new areas, added: "The media world has changed hugely over the last four years and the revenue and financial difficulties of those years were considerable. It was a privilege and a challenge to steer RTÉ Radio through that time. Despite increased commercial competition, a revolution in consumption, reduced resources and less staff, we have maintained and enhanced the quality of RTÉ Radio.

"It’s a testament to the commitment and energy of our wonderful staff that our arts output, our regional coverage, our quality news and current affairs, sport, genre music, drama, documentary, are better than ever. There have been hundreds of awards over the last four years and lots of rewards too. As I leave RTÉ Radio it carries the title of International Broadcaster of the Year from the New York Festivals. This recognition means a lot - to me, my staff, our listeners, and Ireland. It shows RTÉ Radio matters. Keep listening.”

Jim Jennings, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, will take up an interim role as Managing Director for RTÉ Radio.

RTÉ Radio will hold a public competition for the post of Managing Director in the coming months.