Spader, who joined the NBC comedy full-time this season, has decided not to return for the ninth season, Varietyreports.
The 52-year-old actor, who last starred in Boston Legal, first appeared on the series in the Season 7 finale as the eccentric Robert California, a possible replacement for the departing regional manager Michael Scott (Carell). Upon Spader's return as a series regular in Season 8, Robert had not only gotten hired, but he had worked his way up over the summer to the CEO position at Sabre, the company that owns Dunder Mifflin, replacing Kathy Bates' Jo Bennett.
"James always wanted this to be a one-year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television," executive producer Paul Lieberstein told the trade. "He's been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I'm grateful for that."
Ratings have been down this season, hitting a series low of 4.28 million viewers on Feb. 16. Carell's final episode drew 8.42 million viewers.
Spader may not be the only Office castmember leaving the series. Should Mindy Kaling's Fox pilot about a Bridget Jones-type OBGYN get picked up to series, Kelly Kapoor could be saying farewell, too. And NBC is reportedly mulling the idea of a Dwight Schrute-centric spin-off starring Rainn Wilson.
Are you happy about Spader's exit? Or will you miss Robert California?