I've really enjoyed working with the players
Australia's Scott Johnson will vacate his position as Scotland interim head coach to take up a new post as the Scottish Rugby Union's Director of Rugby, it was announced Friday.
Johnson, who guided Scotland to a creditable third place in this season's Six Nations, "will remain as head coach of the national team until that position is filled and will continue to have involvement with the Scotland team through until the 2015 World Cup and beyond," the SRU said in a statement.
Many within the Scottish game had wanted Johnson to continue as coach of the national side but he had hinted previously at a broader role, particularly one involving the preparation of coaches and that was reflected in his comments on Friday.
"I've really enjoyed working with the players throughout the past year and I'm looking forward to that continuing with our quadrangular tournament in South Africa next month," Johnson said.
"The Director of Rugby job excites me. It's about making a really positive contribution that will stand Scottish Rugby in good stead for years to come and I am looking forward to the challenge of the new role as well as continuing with the Scotland team," added the 50-year-old, who previously had spells in charge of Wales and the USA.
"There are some big areas such as coach development, player development, sevens and player acquisition, where, working with colleagues throughout Scottish Rugby, I want to do my bit to ensure we make best use of the talents we have to take the game in this country forward," explained Johnson, who joined the SRU after the end of three years as director of coaching at Welsh regional side the Ospreys.
Johnson joined the Scotland coaching staff ahead of last year's successful tour of Australasia but took charge on an interim basis after Andy Robinson resigned following Scotland's defeat by Tonga in November.
Earlier this week the SRU appointed former Wales hooker Jonathan Humphreys as their new forwards coach and now Murrayfield officials will continue their search for Johnson's successor.
"It's imperative that we get the right candidate as head coach of the national team to take us to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and Scott and I are working together on this and have thought long and hard about the best solution and people for Scottish Rugby to continue to head in the right direction," said SRU chief executive Mark Dodson.
"Johnno has been a popular coach with the players, as underlined by our third place finish in the most recent RBS 6 Nations Championship.
"As he's said, he enjoys hands-on coaching and his reputation in that role has been enhanced by his work with the Scotland team.
"Scott will lead on player acquisition and contracting. He'll be responsible for driving a new Academy structure and for heading up our coach development, which includes our priority of nurturing the next generation of Scottish coaches who can operate at elite level."