Anthony Fry has been forced to step down from the position of Premier League chairman after just a year in the role due to illness.

The former investment banker and BBC Trust member replaced Sir Dave Richards as chairman in June last year amid hopes that he would add more rigour to the Premier League’s structure and improve relations with the Football Association.

But he said that, while he was “delighted to be making significant progress with my recovery” after suffering a stroke in March this year, he had been forced to stand down on the advice of his doctors.

Fry said that given his other ongoing business commitments to Dairy Crest and elsewhere, he would not be able to continue to give the two day a week role the time it deserved.

“It would not be fair to the Premier League, nor its member clubs, not to be able to continue to give that commitment,” he said.

“I would like to thank the Premier League for its understanding and support during what has been a very difficult time. I am sure it will continue to go from strength to strength as an impressive, professional and progressive body as well as a fantastic football competition.”

Peter McCormick, the lawyer who was acting chairman during the fallout from the episode involving chief executive Richard Scudamore and the sexist emails from his work account that were leaked by a former PA to the media, will continue in that capacity for the time being.

Meanwhile, the audit and remuneration committee headed by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck will begin the process of finding the Premier League’s second new chairman in 12 months.

“When the clubs appointed Anthony as our Chairman, we knew we were getting a serious and robust figure with an impressive track record, and who cared about the game. It is a great shame that we were only just getting to see the full range of his capabilities when Anthony was taken ill,” said Buck.

“It is absolutely right for Anthony to concentrate on making a full recovery. I am sure I speak for all the Premier League Clubs when I say that we respect that decision, and thank Anthony for all his efforts while in post”.

The vacuum created by Fry’s absence due to illness was particularly acute during the furore that grew around the Scudamore emails, which brought issues surrounding the Premier League’s governance arrangements to the fore.

An initial plan for the audit and remuneration committee to lead the investigation into the affair was abandoned in favour of a full meeting of all 17 member clubs at the time.

It is understood that, while there are no plans to change the composition of a Premier League board that comprises just the chairman and chief executive, there were discussions about how such a process could be better handled in future at its recent annual meeting.

The Premier League has always argued that as its 20 clubs are its shareholders and meet regularly, there is no need for a full plc style board that includes non-executive members.

The departure of Fry will also come as a blow to Greg Dyke, the FA chairman who already had a relationship with the Premier League chairman and had hoped it would help the two organisations work together more effectively than in the past.

It also comes at a time when Scudamore himself is working remotely following a routine heart operation, although he plans to return to the office at the end of July ahead of the build up to the new season.