– Larry Lucchino, who is stepping down as president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, said in a statement Sunday that "the end of the year is a good time for this change."

Lucchino, 69, was part of the ownership group that purchased the Red Sox in 2002. Boston ended its long World Series championship drought two years later, and added two more titles in 2007 and 2013.

"As far back as 2004, the year of our first world championship, I started to plan for the day when I would want to cut back a little," he said Sunday. "I even inserted a clause to that effect in my contract."

Red Sox Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy will replace him. "I love the Red Sox, I love Fenway Park, and I love Boston," Lucchino said. "It's my home. It's never easy to leave a job you love, but I look forward to the next chapters."

ASSOCIATED PRESS