Peter Noyes said in a statement that “my family must come first at a time like this” and added that Newport needed a vice-chancellor who could give the institution their full attention.
“I am sorry to be leaving in such circumstances and at such a critical time for the university. However, I need to put all my focus on my personal life,” he said.
He has spent six years as vice-chancellor. He previously worked as a research associate at the University of Bristol, and as the dean of the business school at the University of Gloucester.
He oversaw the opening of Newport’s new City campus last year, which he described as “one of the greatest days in the university’s history”.
Dr Noyes has spoken out about a number of convulsions in Welsh higher education during the past year.
After the University of Wales – which operated largely independently from Newport - was hit by an alleged visa scam at a linked college last October, Dr Noyes called for its abolition.
And when the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales confirmed in April that Newport would have its undergraduate entrant places cut by 20.4 per cent in 2013-14 as part of funding reforms, Dr Noyes said there was a “conspiracy” to force it to merge with other institutions.
He has been supportive of plans for Newport to merge with Cardiff Metropolitan University and Glamorgan University, a plan being pushed by the Welsh government’s education minister, Leighton Andrews.
Andrew Wilkinson, chairman of the board of governors at Newport, said that Dr Noyes had provided “outstanding leadership in a period of huge turmoil and the demands placed on him personally have been massive”.
“The university owes him a huge debt of gratitude and we have total respect for the leadership he has provided,” he added.
The governors will appoint a successor to Dr Noyes in the “near future” and plan for his replacement to work in tandem with him during a transition period.