By Mike Rowbottom

Ian Stewart head and shouldersFebruary 3 - Ian Stewart, the promoter of UK Athletics' main domestic events and head of the organisation's endurance running for five years until the position was taken over by John Nuttall, has left the organisation suddenly after a reported row.

According to reports, there were angry scenes at the UK Athletics headquarters in Birmingham as 64-year-old Stewart, a former European champion and Olympic medallist, left the premises.

A statement from UKA, under its new branding of British Athletics, said that Stewart's promotions role of Athlete Liaison Officer would be taken up by the former British international Spencer Barden, who has worked alongside Stewart for the past four years.

Barden will be reporting to Cherry Alexander who has been in charge of televised events since they were brought in-house.

The occasionally irascible Stewart has been a dynamic force in domestic athletics, bringing the competitiveness and tenacity he showed on the track and cross country in assembling athletes for a succession of well-balanced and worthwhile events.

Ian Stewart with Mo FarahIan Stewart played a major role in the development of double London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and helped revive the fortunes of British distance running

He and his wife, the former United States high hurdler Stephanie Hightower, the President of USA Track & Field, were also instrumental in bringing the American athletics team to Birmingham for their pre-London 2012 training camp.

UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos said: "Ian has been central to the success of our televised events for years, and he has helped train the new team since we brought our events programme in-house, and he now leaves us in great shape to take these events from strength to strength.

"I'd like to thank Ian for his work and wish him well in his future career."

According to the release, Stewart had "decided to leave UK Athletics with immediate effect in order to pursue independent career opportunities".

It went on: "Stewart has been a vital cog in the machinery of British Athletics for more than 20 years, most notably as Meet Director for the successful televised event series where Britain has built a reputation for hosting the best meetings in the world both indoors and outdoors.

"Since 2008 Ian has also been UKA's Head of Endurance, responsible for devising and managing a coordinated endurance strategy for leading British runners alongside key partners such as London Marathon and Nova.

"Under Ian's leadership, the GB & NI Cross Country team has been arguably the most successful of all sports at a European level, finishing the number one ranked team for five consecutive years."