The CEO and chairman of The Financial Times, Rona Fairhead, is leaving the company, according to a statement released by the newspaper's owner, Pearson (NYSE:PSO). She will formally step down at the company's annual general meeting next April.

The 51-year-old Fairhead is a 12-year veteran of the firm, in which she occupied several key positions. Prior to becoming the FT's top executive, she served as Pearson's CFO.

Hers is the second top-level departure for Pearson in recent weeks, following the resignation of the company's longtime CEO, Marjorie Scardino, in October. She will leave at the end of this year.

Fairhead's departure is likely to inflame rumors that the FT is for sale, a long-standing supposition that gained credence when Scardino resigned.

Eric Volkman has no positions in Pearson. The Motley Fool has no positions in Pearson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.