ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The longtime head of Alaska’s 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is resigning in mid-January after 25 years on the job.

Iditarod Trail Committee CEO Stan Hooley said Thursday he is leaving the post he held since 1993 to take on a new opportunity outside the state.

The 61-year-old Hooley says he’s not at liberty to say what the opportunity is until January.

Hooley says his resignation has nothing to do with the Iditarod coming off a difficult time for race organizers, who have faced the loss of major sponsors, financial hardships and the first-ever dog doping scandal.

Earlier this month, race officials cleared four-time champion Dallas Seavey of any wrongdoing in a dog-doping scandal that followed the sled dog race last year.

The committee’s chief operating officer, Chas St. George, will serve as acting CEO until a replacement is found.