The ECB in an official statement confirmed that it was Flower's decision to leave, and carried his quotes:
Following the recent very disappointing Ashes defeat it is clear to me that this is now time for England cricket, led by Alastair Cook, to rebuild with a new set of values and goals. The opportunity to start with a clean slate and begin to instil methods to ensure England cricket is moving in the right direction will be an incredibly exciting challenge for someone but I do not feel like I am in a position to undertake that challenge.
Flower was summoned to a meeting at Lord's on Thursday where the new managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton, told Flower that his tenure was up, Hoult's report had suggested.
Quite a first impression from Paul Downton. He wasn't meant to start officially til tomorrow...— George Dobell (@GeorgeDobell1) January 31, 2014
But Flower instead cited his belief that England should have one man overseeing all three formats, rather than to spread the responsibility.
In 2012 Flower had divested responsibility for the limited-overs teams to Ashley Giles, concentrating on the Test team.
He may yet stay involved in the England set-up in another capacity, according to the press release:
So Flower has stepped down, remains a selector but no confirmation of a new role yet. "Exploring possible roles within the ECB" he says.— AlisonMitchell (@AlisonMitchell) January 31, 2014
Flower's reign with England has seen the team emerge from a dark period in their history, become the world's top Test side, then slump back to a fresh low.
In 2009 he took over the role after Peter Moores was ousted from the job. With Andrew Strauss and then Alastair Cook as captain, he presided over three consecutive Ashes series triumphs, as well as masterminding the World T20 triumph—England's first success at an international cricket tournament.
But since they reached the top of the rankings with a 4-0 sweep over India in 2011, the team have lost ground. In 2012 a home defeat to South Africa cost them top spot, but thereafter the 5-0 Ashes defeat undermined Flower's position.
The tour of Australia saw Jonathan Trott fly home with a stress problem, Graeme Swann retire midway through the series, and Steven Finn depart with selectors saying he wasn't in any position technically to be selected.
Flower had indicated his desire to stay on in the job and lead the rebuilding process, but whispers grew that he had also intimated he would be prepared to walk away from the job if he was forced to continue working with England batsman Kevin Pietersen, according to another piece by Nick Hoult in the Telegraph.