James Roberson will leave his position as president of the Research Triangle Foundation later this year.

Roberson took over as president in 1988 and since then has been extremely active in the recruiting and development of high-tech and life science companies for the region.

Roberson plans to continue to work with the organization as a consultant. He also wants to work on other regional projects, he said in a statement.

In a statement, the Foundation pointed out that Roberson has helped recruit 60 research and development firms. Employment reached more than 45,000 — up from 29,700 — and developed space increased to more than 19 million square feet — up from 15 million.

“It has been a privilege to lead Research Triangle Foundation of NC and to help develop Research Triangle Park,” Roberson said. “I have been very pleased to be able to work with a dedicated group of people who care deeply about our community and who want to bring good paying jobs to the region. As the Park’s development is nearly complete, I believe this is a good time for the Foundation to move into the next stage of its growth, which will be a very exciting time for the organization. I plan to continue to be active with the Park and to help it continue to grow, but I also want to have more time to devote to my personal life.”

Roberson received the Association of University Research Parks career achievement award in 2000. RTP was honored as best research park by the same group in 1999.

The American Economic Development Council and the Council for Urban Economic Development named Roberson as the 2002 winner of the Edward deLuca Lifetime Achievement for Professional Excellence in Economic Development Award. It was the first award presented by the two groups following their merger.

A search is already underway for a successor, led by Sockwell and Associates. The group said it hopes to have a replacement for Roberson sometime this spring.

Roberson worked in a number of economic development positions before joining the RTP group. He also is chair of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.