New Sharks chief executive Barry Russell.

Cronulla CEO Barry Russell will resign from his post with a "broken heart" once the club is salary cap compliant after a tumultuous 12 months in the role.

Russell has overseen one of the most drama-filled years in the club's history, his self-reporting of salary cap discrepancies last year resulting in an NRL investigation that ended in a $1.25 million fine and a $707,000 cap penalty spread over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Russell's bid to get on the front foot effectively saved the club $500,000, with the six-figure amount suspended from their NRL fine.

Premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan has also been deregistered indefinitely by head office, following evidence of him breaching the terms of his 2014 ban and repeatedly corresponding with the club found during the Sharks salary cap investigation.

Both the Sharks and the NRL are confident the club will be $353,000 below the cap by round one, and possibly as early as this week, with Russell to step down on April 1.

"It has been a very tough 12 months, both for the club and for me personally," Russell said via a club statement.

"When I made the decision to self-report a salary cap discrepancy last year with the full approval of the board, I most certainly did not foresee all the issues that were to follow.

"As hard as it has been I did however remain committed to seeing the club through these challenging times and set a new course of proper governance and integrity.

"I'm proud that I've been able to clean this mess up and give the club every chance of success."

As well as coaching and salary cap dramas Cronulla have been without a major sponsor for much of Russell's tenure, off-field issues among the playing group contributing to the club's struggles to find a major backer.

That finally changed at the weekend with Ace Gutters coming on board as the Sharks' front-of-jersey sponsor for the next two years.

The club has also struggled financially for some time, posting $3 million losses in both 2017 and 2018, prompting Russell and the club into 12 redundancies amid fears for Cronulla's long-term future.

With fringe forward Ava Seumanafagai currently weighing up a three-year offer from Leeds and former salary cap auditor Jamie L'Oste Brown advising the club, Cronulla are hopeful of having their roster in order well before their March 15 trip to Newcastle.

Should Seumanafagai's exit not free up the requisite cap space to bring a minimum wage replacement into their top 30 squad, the futures of James Segeyaro, and others such as Chad Townsend and the Brailey brothers Jayden and Blayke could come under a cloud.

The Sharks board is expected to announce an interim replacement for Russell ahead of a recruitment process, with John Morris's rookie coach status likely to expedite the search.

"We are now through this very difficult period and I believe the time is right for the club to have a fresh start and be taken forward in a new direction," Russell said.

"A new CEO will have the opportunity to start with a clean slate, alongside our talented new head coach John Morris, and build the best structure possible to lead the club forward without any negative remnants from the past 12 months."