Rochdale have sacked boss Keith Hill after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Luton Town.
The 49-year-old had been in charge at Spotland since January 2, 2013, his second spell at the helm, making him one of the longest serving manager's in English football.
However, the reverse at Kenilworth Road saw Dale slip further into the relegation mire, now six points adrift of safety, as a statement on the club's official website said: "Rochdale Football Club has terminated the contracts of Keith Hill and Chris Beech with immediate effect.
"It has been the most difficult decision that the board has had to make but it is felt that due to results on the pitch, that a new direction is needed.
"We believe the next five games against opposition in and around us represents a great opportunity to try and retain our League One status, which is why this action has been taken now.
"Hill has achieved two out of the three promotions in Rochdale’s history and is rightly regarded as the club’s most successful manager.
"The board would like to place on record their thanks to Keith and Chris for their exceptional services to the club and wish them all the best for the future."
Speaking after his side's loss to Luton on Saturday, with goals from Danny Hylton and James Collins securing a 22nd game unbeaten in the Football League for the Hatters, Hill felt he had witnessed enough that the visitors could escape relegation.
He said: "I saw plenty of fight, plenty of determination, we made some typically wrong decisions, but I thought they tried to back each other up, which was far better than I've seen for a long time.
"It was a pretty intense week, a lot of home truths, and I think that's the way forward with that type of aggression and fitness.
"We had chances, but unfortunately came up against a better side.
"There's no shame in losing, but it's another loss and we're losing too many games.
"They get a second ball again, which I'm really angry about and these things are avoidable, but I can see enough fight in the group, and if we relax there's enough ability."