Andy Flower's decision to stand down as England team director was not prompted by the 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke revealed that Flower opted to leave the role only after deciding the team director should be directly involved in all three formats.

Flower handed over the coaching duties of the limited-overs team to Ashley Giles 14 months ago but, after speaking with new ECB managing director Paul Downton in the past week, decided that was a situation that was no longer tenable as England plot a new era.

"This was Andy's decision," Clarke said at a press conference in Melbourne.

"Andy has been concerned that because there are players who go across formats, and of course the management team go across formats, it is extremely important to have the same culture in the England side in terms of preparation, management and the way they approach everything and the way they relate to each other.

"I think since December 2012, when we decided with Andy to split the roles, we've learnt quite a lot about what it is like to divide those roles and he felt it was now important to bring the roles back together and it was better that way.

"He felt going forward - in the new (captain Alastair) Cook era - that the three formats should be unified under one coach. That was his fundamental decision.

"Once that decision had been reached and he didn't want to be coach of all three, it was clear what his next decision would be."

Clarke did not put a timeframe on when a successor would be appointed, although England have time on their hands.

England's next Test match is not until the summer, when they host Sri Lanka, and until then Giles will continue in his role of the limited-overs coach for the tour of the Caribbean and then the World Twenty20.

"Paul Downton will take full charge of that (succession) process," Clarke said.

"We don't play any Test cricket until June so we have quite a break, so we'll be focusing on the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

"That process is pretty clear."

Giles would appear to be well placed to take over Flower's role after being ushered in as his understudy.

"He's a very strong candidate," Clarke said.

"Ashley is a very valued employee of the ECB, we all have the highest regard for him both as a man and as a coach.

"He is a man of great integrity and great capabilities. He played a lot of cricket for England and is very respected in the game."

Should Giles be overlooked, however, the decision to employ one man across all formats would almost certianly see him lose his job.

The likes of former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten have already been linked as possible candidates.

"Paul will conduct a proper process," Clarke said.

"There may well be other outstanding candidates that emerge. It will be a matter for Paul and those he chooses to advise him on that to decide who the right person is."

Clarke backed Cook to remain as skipper of the Test and ODI teams.

Cook had revealed some self doubts about his captaincy during the ODI series defeat in Australia, but will now meet Downton in the coming weeks to discuss the direction of the England team.

"I expect Alastair Cook to be captain of the team for the first Test next summer and in the ODIs at home," Clarke said.

During his five years in charge Flower led England to three Ashes series wins, the World Twenty20 and to the top of the rankings in all three formats.

Understandably, Clarke said the ECB had reluctantly accpeted the Zimbabwean's decision to step down but said there was no way of changing his mind.

"When Andy Flower makes his mind up to do something he's not the easiest to dissuade," he said.

"He and Paul had some very sensible and constructive conversations and as I say, the really good thing is he will be continuing with the ECB and we're really glad about that."

Flower is set to talk with Downton over the coming weeks about what position he is set to take up with the ECB.

Clarke suggested it would be a player development role at Loughborough.

"That will emerge. You will all be fully briefed once Paul and Andy have completed their discussions," he said.

"Clearly Andy has huge coaching abilities. He was the national batting coach and had his own extraordinary accomplishments playing Test cricket as a batsman and wicketkeeper.

"He's also a great identifier and developer of leadership in young men and I think that's something we all agree we need to develop more of at Loughborough and in the counties."