The University of Tennessee is losing one of its leaders.

Margie Nichols, vice chancellor for communications and marketing, plans to retire later this year. Nichols previously served as WBIR's news director.

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek shared the news in a press release.

"It is a tough announcement for me to make. Margie started helping me even before I arrived on campus to begin serving as chancellor in 2009. She has been a big part of what we’ve been able to accomplish," said Cheek.

Nichols has served as vice chancellor for more than seven years. Cheek praised her efforts to enhance the university’s national reputation, tell the best stories about the university, and improved our communication with students, faculty, and staff.

He called her "a critical part of my cabinet and brought valuable expertise and knowledge to our team. We will miss her greatly at the University of Tennessee, and I will personally miss her counsel on the many issues we have faced over the years."

“I have had an amazing career, and it’s been an honor to serve the University of Tennessee and its distinguished faculty, staff, and students. I have accomplished the goals I set eight years ago when I came to UT. The time is right for my husband and me to focus on our list of things we want to do together," said Nichols.

“I have been blessed with an extremely talented staff who will continue all of the great work we've started. I am humbled by Chancellor Cheek’s kind words and trust; I will miss him and my colleagues greatly,” she continued.

The university is beginning a national search to fill the position. Nichols will continue in the role until her successor is named.