Speculation has been mounting that the 38-year-old was set to announce a move, fuelled when it emerged in May that Moyles has held talks about presenting a show on BBC Radio 2.
Moyles is the longest-serving Radio 1 breakfast show DJ and has been presenting the show since 2004.
He was contracted to Radio 1 until the start of 2014, after signing a new £1m deal with the BBC last July.
“We’re going to leave the breakfast show … I’m just going to give a heads up that we are going to wrap it up,” he said, in a heartfelt four-minute speech to mark the end of his time in charge. “It’s almost time to go, we’re off. A couple more months of us and then it’s someone else’s turn to have a go, so thanks for listening and I hope you stay with us until the end because I promise it’s going to be brilliant.”
He added: “I don’t do things by halves, my tongue is always buried deep in my cheek so thank you for listening. I’ve had the best time of my life.”
Moyles is to play Herod in a UK tour of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar starting in September, which will mark the end of his time at Radio 1.
He said that he felt that a lull in constant speculation about his future marked the right time to leave.
“A weird thing about doing this job is almost since day one there has been speculation over how long it would last,” he said. “There have been rumours bosses wanted me out, front-page news stories saying I am going to be fired before the end of the year, printed whispers of my successor and when they would take over. Throughout all of it the one thing that has remained constant is me and the team coming to work every day, doing the show, making the audience laugh and the bosses at Radio 1 were happy. So I find myself at a time when no one is looking my way, it is all quiet, there aren’t any rumours about me getting fired.”
BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper said: “I’d like to thank Chris. Quite simply, he has been the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1’s history. For the past eight and a half years he has been entertaining millions of listeners every morning, which is testament to his incredible talent as a broadcaster.”
Radio 1 is in the process of overhauling its lineup to target a younger audience, with Greg James recently switched to the drivetime slot in place of Scott Mills and a revamp of its specialist DJs that saw the exit of Judge Jules and Gilles Peterson. James is tipped as a possible replacement for Moyles on the Radio 1 breakfast show.
An announcement on Moyles’s replacement is expected later this morning, with the 26-year old James considered to be the front runner.
In an interview with MediaGuardian in April James made clear his desire to take over the reins, saying “If you don’t want the breakfast show, you are an idiot”.
Cooper is under pressure to shift the station’s audience profile towards a younger demographic.
The most recent radio audience figures show that BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans surged ahead of Moyles with his biggest ever lead of more than 2 million.
Evans had an average weekly reach of 9.23 million listeners in the first three months of 2012, ahead of Moyles’s 7.1 million, according to official Rajar figures. In the same period in 2011 Moyles had 7.52 million listeners.
In 2009, Moyles became Radio 1’s longest-serving breakfast presenter, breaking the record previously set by Tony Blackburn. He then took over from Sara Cox on the breakfast show in January 2004.
He described the Radio 1 breakfast DJ slot as a “dream job” and that he has been a “radio geek living the dream”.
“It is the [job] I wanted since I was child. The coveted Radio 1 breakfast show. I know some kids want to be a professional footballer, a fireman, but not me, I’m a geek. I wanted the biggest radio show you could get and eventually I got it”.
There is a long tradition of Radio 1 DJs moving to Radio 2 including Jo Whiley, Mark Radcliffe, Dave Pearce, Trevor Nelson, Zoe Ball and Chris Evans (albeit with an eight-year gap).