Anders Hultin, the head of Pearson's school improvement business, has left after two years with the education giant.
A spokesperson said that Hultin had stepped down for personal reasons, and would be returning to his home country of Sweden.
As an advisor to the Swedish government, Hultin was one of the key architects of the country’s "free schools" policy in the early nineties. He left government to co-found the Kunskapsskolan chain of independent schools.
Later he became head of GEMS Education UK, where he was a passionate advocate of the cause of for-profit schooling, before joining Pearson in 2010.
The Pearson school improvement business works with schools to help improve teaching, planning and administration.
The spokeswoman stressed that the business would continue without Hultin. "While with Pearson, Anders helped us make great progress in scoping and beginning our journey into whole school improvement," she said. "The strong team he built will continue to implement plans and build our approach with partner schools.
“Pearson remains committed to contributing to whole school improvement by drawing on international research, best practice and technology to support schools to deliver rounded, pupil-centred high quality learning.”