Bernt Reitan had come under intense criticism from shareholders for his handling of a three-year case over bribes paid to officials in Libya, India and Russia.
He said on Monday that he was retiring from the job early because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
"Based on an overall assessment of my workload and a desire for more family time, I have come to the conclusion, after careful consideration, that the time has come not to stand for re- election to the time-consuming chairmanship of Yara," Reitan said in a statement to the E24 website.
Story continues below…
The company's nomination committee has suggested that Reitan's place be taken by Leif Teksum, a banker at DNB.