Dougie Brown has stepped down as Warwickshire's director of cricket by mutual consent.

His departure invites the possibility that Ashley Giles could be enticed back to Warwickshire to take up the role that he relinquished to join England's coaching set-up.

Giles has made an impact as Lancashire's director of cricket, with homegrown players at the core, but his impatience with criticism from a minority of supporters has been evident and he retains strong emotional and family ties with Warwickshire where he spent his playing career.

He spends most of the week in a hotel near Manchester and his family still live in Droitwich, 25 miles south of Birmingham. If he expressed an interest, it would be a surprise if Lancashire tried to stand in his way.

Brown's position seemed strengthened when Warwickshire won the Royal London Cup, following their victory in the NatWest Blast in 2014, but even two trophies in three years could not satisfy the hankering for change among senior figures in the county.

Brown responded philosophically, saying: "The club has a very proud history of challenging for silverware and despite winning the Royal London One-Day Cup this season, failure to qualify for the NatWest T20 Blast quarter finals and narrowly avoiding relegation from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship on the last day of the season is not where the club should be.

"It is, therefore, the right time for me to agree to step down from my role as director of cricket. I wish the club and the players all the very best in 2017 and thank everyone for a fantastic journey over the past 27 years."

Brown, 46, assumed Giles' role at Edgbaston four years ago, stepping up from the role of academy coach and, in keeping with his 27-year involcement with the county, he has fulfilled it with undoubted passion and energy.

But the sense has grown at Edgbaston that the squad is ageing, with few signs of high-quality, long-term replacements emerging from the academy. Warwickshire remain burdened by debt, with around £20m owed to Birmingham City Council, and Twenty20 crowds have not grown as fast as in some other areas of the country.

Ian Bell, who took over the captaincy last season after losing his England place, has taken on a central role in Warwickshire's affairs and his belief that the county would make a strong Championship challenge did not bear examination as they found themselves in a final match against Lancashire at Edgbaston in which either side, had results gone against them, could have been relegated.

Neil Snowball, the chief executive of Warwickshire, said: "Dougie is a true Bear, having served the club with great distinction for many years as a player, coach and director of cricket.

"On behalf of the players, members and supporters, I would like to thank him for everything that he has contributed to Warwickshire CCC and wish him the very best for the future."

Snowball, who held senior organising roles for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 Rugby World Cup, set high expectations when he assumed the chief executive's role earlier this year, calling for the county to challenge across all three competitions and produce more than 50% of its players.

Giles extended his contract with Lancashire until 2018 following the double success of winning the NatWest T20 Blast and securing Championship promotion during his first summer.

Jim Troughton, a former captain, is also among the favourites for a role of 1st team coach.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo