Michael Arthur is to step down as president and provost of UCL in September 2020.
Professor Arthur will have spent seven years at the helm of the Russell Group university when he makes way for a replacement at the end of the next academic year.
The university has launched a global search to recruit a successor.
Victor Chu, UCL’s chair of council, said that Professor Arthur was leaving the university in a “very strong position”.
Professor Arthur has overseen significant expansion of UCL’s student numbers and research activities, and led the development of the institution’s £516 million new campus, UCL East, on the Olympic Park site in Stratford.
Professor Arthur said that he was “incredibly proud of and humbled by the commitment of our outstanding community at UCL and of all that we have achieved together”.
“After spending nearly two decades as a university leader, I have decided to step down from the role. I am looking forward to pursuing new and different opportunities,” Professor Arthur said.
Professor Arthur joined UCL in December 2013, succeeding Malcolm Grant, having been vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds from 2004 to 2013.
Prior to that, he had several roles at the University of Southampton, including dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences.
A former chair of the Russell Group, he is a hepatologist, with research interests in liver cell biology and the cell and molecular pathogenesis of liver fibrosis.