"The Office" will have to open a recruitment soon. James Spader, who joined the eighth season of the NBC comedy series in a permanent basis, has decided not to return to the show after the eighth season finale in May.
"James came to 'The Office' to play a role that was two scenes long in the season 7 finale," executive producer Paul Lieberstein said in a statement addressing the 52-year-old actor's departure. "He instantly brought so much life and intrigue to the part that those two scenes became a season."
"James always wanted this to be a one year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television. He's been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I'm grateful for that. I'm already looking for ways to work with him again."
Spader first appeared on "The Office" in the season 7 finale as Robert California, who applied to fill the regional manager position left by Steve Carell's Michael Scott. In season 8, his character nabbed the job, but soon got promoted to replace Kathy Bates' Jo Bennett as Dunder Mifflin's CEO.
It's not clear how Spader's exit will be explained in the story. His departure announcement came out a month after it was reported that "The Office" spin-off centering on Rainn Wilson's Dwight Schrute is in the works.