Southampton have sacked vice-chairman Les Reed as they bid to bring “new drive and direction” to the struggling south coast club.
There had been speculation that manager Mark Hughes’ position could be under threat, but Reed appears to have paid the price for the Saints’ poor start to the season.
They have won just one of their 11 Premier League games so far and sit 16th heading into the weekend.
A club statement read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm it has agreed to part company with its vice-chairman (football), Les Reed.
“The club believes the time is right to take constructive action and make a change that will provide new drive and direction to our football operations team and enable them to get results back on track.”
Southampton said the search for Reed’s replacement had now begun.
“I would like to go on record to thank Les for the eight years of hard work and dedication he has given Southampton Football Club,” chairman Ralph Krueger said.
“His time at the club will be remembered for the fine work he did in overseeing our progress through the divisions and establishing the club in the Premier League.
“The process of recruiting the right individual to head up our football operations is under way, and is a decision that needs to be given the necessary time and attention that reflects what an important position it is within our club.
“Now, more than ever, we are grateful for the continued support of our staff and fans as we work towards our joint aim of moving up the table.”