In a surprise move that will add to the chatter over policy and management at cash-strapped English National Opera, Loretta Tomasi has announced that after ten years with the company she will step down from her position of Chief Executive at the end of 2013.

Martyn Rose, Chair of ENO's Board of Trustees said: "Loretta's contribution to ENO over the last decade has been immense. She has steered the company through challenging times and enabled it to build a national and international reputation for excellent, highly dramatic opera that makes ENO unique.

Loretta Tomasi
Loretta Tomasi
"The Board understands Loretta's decision to move on, and wishes her the very best of luck in all her future endeavours, but she will be greatly missed.

"As Loretta continues to lead the company through the autumn and winter, we will consider how best to ensure that ENO has the leadership it needs to build on her impressive work and take the company forward into an ambitious and sustainable future."

Tomasi herself said in a statement: "It has been a privilege to lead this amazing and extraordinary company, full of talented, dedicated people who all work so hard to produce the finest work. I am proud of what we have achieved together and I am confident that ENO's future holds many more artistic triumphs.

"This has been an immensely difficult decision to make but after ten fantastic years – seven as Chief Executive – it is the right time for me to choose a new path. I look forward to remaining involved with ENO in the future, as an audience member and supporter".

Further details of Tomasi's departure date and the name of her successor will be keenly awaited this autumn.