Andy Flower has stepped down as England team director.

Flower's decision follows a meeting with new England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton.

Flower has been in charge since taking over from Peter Moores in 2009 and boasts a fine record, but his position became untenable after the Ashes whitewash this winter.

The ECB confirmed Flower will continue to act as a selector for the time being and he is hoping to find a new position within the organisation.

Although the ongoing tour of Australia will go down as the nadir of the Flower era, the Ashes was a productive series during his tenure.

England won the urn on three occasions with Flower at the helm, at home in 2009 and 2013 and Down Under in 2010-11 - the latter ending a 24-year wait for victory in Australia.

A series win in India in 2012 was another high watermark, with England winning there for the first time in 27 years, while his finest hour in the shorter formats came with victory in the World Twenty20 almost four years ago.

Flower, 45, relinquished control of the one-day and Twenty20 sides to Ashley Giles in December 2012, but retained overall responsibility for team affairs.

Despite an apparent pledge to remain in charge and help rebuild the Test team following their 5-0 humbling, his long-term future has been in doubt since he brought Giles in to share the workload.

Flower said: "Following the recent very disappointing Ashes defeat it is clear to me that this is now time for England cricket, led by Alastair Cook, to rebuild with a new set of values and goals.

"The opportunity to start with a clean slate and begin to instil methods to ensure England cricket is moving in the right direction will be an incredibly exciting challenge for someone but I do not feel like I am in a position to undertake that challenge.

"In order for England cricket to make significant progress I believe that the team director, together with the respective captains, needs to be responsible across all formats in order to positively influence the rebuilding process.

"This will ensure complete clarity and continuity across the squads and having stepped aside from the limited-overs squads 14 months ago that is not something I am able to do and I do not therefore feel that starting the process would be in the best interests of all involved at what is a pivotal time for England cricket.

"This has been a very difficult decision to make and I remain committed to England cricket and would like to wish Alastair Cook and Paul Downton every success. I will remain in my position as a selector for the time being and am currently exploring possible roles within the ECB. The priority must now be to establish the direction and personnel needed to ensure England cricket moves forward."

Flower's exit will make Downton's first days in the job particularly challenging.

He does not officially begin as Hugh Morris' replacement until the weekend but has been working behind the scenes for a number of weeks.

As well as completing his post-Ashes review, Downton will now place recruiting a new team director at the top of his agenda.

Giles represents an obvious choice - and he is known to be keen on the top job - but Downton is likely to assess other options, from home and abroad.

Reacting to the announcement, Downton said: "Andy has been the most successful coach in England's history and we at the ECB are very disappointed to see him leave the role as team director.

"We respect his decision and the reasons for it but we are keen to keep Andy's experience and outstanding knowledge within the ECB. We are at advanced stages of negotiating a role for Andy within the ECB structure which will best utilise his undoubted skills."

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, added: "Andy Flower has not only shown himself to be a coach of great quality but also a man of great integrity. He has led England to great successes during his reign as team director and I look forward to his continued input in the ECB's coaching structure.

"I am sure that he will be every bit as successful in that role as he has been in his five years as England team director. I thank him for his contribution to England's cricketing history and wish him well in the future and his continued role in England's cricketing success."