Dan Glickman will exit the Motion Picture Association of America April 1, according to the studio trade group.
Glickman will become the president of Refugees International.
Bob Pisano, president and COO of MPAA, will be interim CEO.
"We thank Dan for his tireless support of the issues facing our businesses," said Warner Bros. Entertainment Chairman Barry Meyer in announcing the move, "particularly in protecting intellectual property rights in the United States and around the world. We wish him every success in his new position."
Glickman has been with MPAA since 2004, when he came in to succeed the late Jack Valenti, who had put an indelible stamp on the post, leaving tough shoes to fill.
Glickman had signaled he was looking to make a career change. In an interview with C-SPAN for its Communicators series in December he said: ""I guess I want to see if I can save the world in this last part of my occupational life."