The Canadian Olympic Committee has announced that CEO Chris Rudge is resigning from his position.

"They say timing is everything, and throughout my many careers I've always observed that it is important to know when to go," Rudge stated Wednesday.

"The past seven-plus years have been inspiring and were highlighted by an unforgettable Vancouver Games that are sure to leave an indelible mark on our national soul."

Rudge, who has held the job since 2003, will formally step down on April 15.

"To all the athletes, coaches and sport leaders I had the opportunity to meet and work with, many thanks for sharing your dreams and passions with Canada; you make us better," Rudge said.

He was a member of Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. Rudge was also on the board of directors for the successful Toronto campaign to host the 2015 Pan American Games.

Praise from Pound

Dick Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee and a former COC president, praised Rudge for moving the Olympic committee in a positive direction.

"He had a sense of the big picture," Pound said. "He understood the financial aspects of what we were doing.

"He communicated well with the public at large. He was good about getting talent in the organization and giving the talent the opportunity to do a good job without being in their face all the time."

Rudge credits much of the COC's success to current president Michael Chambers, whom he calls "a terrific colleague and a terrific leader."

In a release Chambers said it was "a pleasure and a privilege" to work with Rudge.

"I believe we were a great team, and we put in a good many miles together working for the betterment of sport in Canada," he said.

The former executive of Quebecor was also chair of the Own the Podium steering committee for the last two years

Changing attitudes within the COC, and creating programs to give the athletes the support they need are two of the achievements Rudge feels the most pride over.

"At one time when I first got here, I think we were trying to be all things to all people," he said. "The COC was trying to do too much without focusing on three or four key priorities or objectives.

"I think we are a much more focused organization now on what we are about. Success in sport and our contribution to success in sport."

Criticized early

Rudge was front and centre taking the flak during the first half of the Vancouver Games, when the Canadian team was performing under expectations.

He was the one who announced nearly halfway through the Games that the Own the Podium campaign wouldn't reach its goal of winning the overall medal count at the Olympics.

But Canada ended up exceeding its own goals when it ran away with the gold medal total, setting a new Winter Olympics record with 14 golds when the Games were done.

"I think Canadians have come to recognize that you can be aggressive in establishing your goals, as long as they are realistic and as long as you support the people that have to execute on those goals," Rudge said.

"It doesn't mean you compromise the fine values Canadians have always held in the past. You can win with humility and grace and you can be a wonderful person."

The COC said it will name a successor in the near future.

With files from The Canadian Press