Sir Herman, 54, denied speculation that his decision to go in January 2000 was the result of frustration that the government was not doing enough to tackle racial discrimination. He was scheduled to leave as head of the race watchdog in April 2002.
A former chief officer of the Inner London Education Authority, he was first appointed to the CRE in April 1993 by the Conservative
government and given a second term by home secretary Jack Straw in 1998 that was supposed to run for four years.
Sir Herman, the first black chairman of the CRE, was seen as the most successful head of the organisation. His£81,670-a-year post will be advertised for the first time by the home office.