The retirement of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Dr Martin Parkinson will put an end to one of the Australian public service's most storied but turbulent careers, while a former Foreign Minister has labelled him the most outstanding public servant of his generation.
Dr Parkinson on Thursday revealed he would be stepping down, in a move widely expected for several months after serving in senior roles in a lengthy career that extended across the public service.
He served as secretary of the then-department of climate change and was famously the secretary of Treasury when then-prime minister Tony Abbott decided to cut him loose from the role upon coming to power in 2013.
At the time of his departure from that role, former treasury secretary Dr Ken Henry hit out at the decision as what seemed to be the first such political removal of a Treasury boss in the 114 year history of the central agency.
Dr Henry told ABC's 7.30 in 2013 that no government had ever thought it appropriate to "remove the head of the Treasury and put in somebody who they think is of the right; let's say of a more comfortable political character".
''I'm not saying that is what has motivated the Prime Minister on this occasion. It sounds like that, though." he said at the time.
He has remained in the role since, and will likely leave a key legacy in an expected major shake-up of the Commonwealth bureaucracy as a result of David Thodey's review of the public service, a key issue Dr Parkinson had pushed for originally with Mr Turnbull.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday thanked Dr Parkinson for his service, saying he had been a respected public official in Canberra for a very long time, and he and all the government ministers remained respectful of him.
Mr Morrison also announced current Treasury secretary Phil Gaetjens would replace Dr Parkinson in the top job, while current Infrastructure head Steven Kennedy would be elevated to lead the Treasury.
Dr Parkinson told the Australian he was not leaving because he had any issues with Mr Morrison.
"Absolutely I would not want anyone to think there was anything about my relationship with the prime minister that was leading me to leave," he told the paper in an interview published on Thursday," he said.
"It is up to others to judge, but I think what he would tell you is that he and I have a very good personal and professional relationship. And I've really enjoyed working with him since the period he became PM."
Dr Parkinson has remained a widely-respected head of the government's top department on both sides of the aisle, and has been awarded a Public Service Medal, Companion of the Order of Australia and an Australian National University Alumni of the Year award - where he studied economics.
ANU Chancellor and former foreign minister Gareth Evans said Dr Parkinson had been "the outstanding public servant of his generation" and that he would be missed.