Equity general secretary Christine Payne will retire next year, with a new leader taking over the role from October 2020.
The union is now advertising for a new general secretary after Payne confirmed she would step down, having held the post for 15 years.
Her successor will eventually be voted for by Equity’s membership, however initial applications for the position are now open.
Having joined the union in 1979, Payne took over as general secretary in 2005 from Ian McGarry, becoming the first woman to lead Equity. She has since served three terms in the role.
Writing in Equity’s most recent magazine, Payne said: “I will be retiring in October next year and you may have noticed an advertisement for the post of general secretary. I will remain fully in charge until that time, alongside the union’s dedicated officers, council and staff.
“I have worked at Equity for more than 40 years, holding posts such as commercials organiser, assistant general secretary to the recorded media and the live performance departments and secretary to several committees. I am very proud of the strong, independent trade union that we are today. But now is not the time to reflect on my time at Equity – there is still plenty to do.”
Applications for the new general secretary will close on January 23, with interviews taking place in London on February 9, after which a ballot of the union’s membership will take place.