In a development which has shocked the Premiership, Gary Gold left his position as Bath's director of rugby on Monday afternoon.
The club announced in a brief statement: "Bath Rugby can today confirm that Gary Gold has left the club with immediate effect.
"The decision was taken following a re-structure in the rugby department and with the best interests of both Gary and the club in mind. No further comment will be made until it is appropriate."
The South African's departure came as a major surprise, with Bath enjoying their best start to a season for several years. They are third in the Premiership after winning seven of their opening nine matches, and are top of their respective pools in the Amlin and LV= Cups.
Last Saturday's 55-8 European victory away to Mogliano was their ninth consecutive win in all competitions.
The former South Africa assistant coach was appointed head coach at the Recreation Ground last summer to lead a new-look coaching staff, following the departure of Sir Ian McGeechan.
Gold brought former England defence coach Mike Ford with him to Bath, while London Irish's Toby Booth and Neal Hatley also arrived to work alongside established coach Brad Davis – although the latter left the club last December.
The 46-year-old led Bath to a seventh-place finish in the Premiership last season, while they also reached the LV= Cup semi-finals and the last eight of the Amlin Cup.
Gold's role was switched to director of rugby this summer in a restructure of the club's rugby department, with Ford stepping up as head coach.
Gold's changed remit saw him oversee recruitment and wage-cap management, as well as the medical and strength and conditioning departments and the Academy, while Ford assumed responsibility for the day-to-day preparation of the first team.
Former Bath player and ex-England captain Lewis Moody believes the restructuring of the staff left Gold "surplus to requirements".
Moody told BBC Radio Wiltshire: "I think, looking at how things have developed over the last year and a bit, Gary came in as head coach and was then moved to director of rugby. He has almost ended up out of a role. Mike Ford has done a brilliant job since taking over the coaching side, and you've got Toby Booth and Neal Hatley, a lot of coaches that are doing numerous roles."