The show's boss will stand down from his position next month after two years in charge. EastEnders' experienced series producer Lorraine Newman will then take over his role on an acting basis.
Kirkwood commented: "Being the executive producer of EastEnders is one of the most exciting jobs in TV, but it's also the most exhausting - so after two years, I've decided it's time to leave Walford.
"It's been a thrill to work with such talented people such as John Yorke, Simon Ashdown and our amazing cast and crew. Most of all it's been a privilege to tell stories that have genuinely had the nation talking. I'm going to take with me some brilliant friends and memories."
He continued: "I'm delighted to leave the show in the capable hands of Lorraine Newman. Lorraine has been by my side every step of the way for the last two years and knows EastEnders inside out. I wish her and the show every future success."
Ronnie and Kat's baby swap, Whitney's sexual exploitation, the dramatic Queen Vic fire and Pat's emotional exit are among the major storylines which have appeared on screen during his stint at the top.
EastEnders has also enjoyed significant awards success in the past two years, including winning the top soap prizes at the BAFTA, RTS, NTA and British Soap Award ceremonies in 2011.
John Yorke, BBC Controller of Drama Production and New Talent, commented: "I would like to thank Bryan for his extraordinary hard work, a chest full of awards and some great storylines. It's been a pleasure working with him and I wish him every success for the future."
> Read our July 2011 interview with Bryan Kirkwood
> Read more EastEnders news and spoilers