Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has been sacked, the Premier League club have announced.
The 48-year-old's future had been the subject of intense scrutiny over the last few days.
Mancini learned tonight he had been relieved of his duties after failing to achieve any of the club's "stated targets" for the season.
The news comes exactly a year to the day after City won the Premier League in dramatic circumstances on the final day of last season.
But it is Mancini's failure to build on that achievement that has seen his three-and-a-half year tenure brought to an end.
A club statement read: "It is with regret that Manchester City Football Club announces that Roberto Mancini has been relieved of his duties as Manchester City manager.
"This has been a difficult decision for the owner, chairman and board to make and it is the outcome of a planned end-of-season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation and out of respect for Roberto and his extensive contributions to the football club.
"Despite everyone's best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League.
"This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013/14 season and beyond."
City's statement added that assistant manager Brian Kidd would be placed in interim charge for the remaining two matches of the season and the forthcoming tour of the United States.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is the favourite to take over full time, having been linked heavily with the post since last Friday night.
Despite a disappointing season, Mancini will leave with a fine record having won the FA Cup in 2011 and last season's first title win in 44 years.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: "Roberto's record speaks for itself and he has the respect and gratitude of Sheikh Mansour, myself and the board for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three and a half years. He has clearly also secured the love and respect of our fans.
"He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success, breaking the club's 35-year trophy drought and securing the title in 2012. I would like to personally and publicly thank him for his dedication to the progress that he has overseen and for his support and continued friendship."
City began the season with high expectations but their title defence has been an underwhelming one and they failed to progress beyond the UEFA Champions League group stage for a second successive year. They can still secure second place by claiming a point from their final two games against Reading and Norwich but Saturday's dismal defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup final further dented their ambitions.
Rumours Mancini could be dismissed have recurred throughout the season but have gathered momentum since Friday evening. Mancini hit out at club officials for failing to quell the speculation after the cup final but no denials were forthcoming. He continued with business and took training at QPR's Loftus Road ground as the team stayed down south ahead of Tuesday's trip to Reading but the conjecture intensified and ended with this perhaps inevitable outcome.
Mancini's position seemed impregnable when he was rewarded for last season's success with a five-year contract last summer. There have also been mitigating factors to this season's disappointments, notably injuries, a failure to land prime transfer targets and a notable decline in form of several of last year's stars.