As a result he will now be succeeded by current non-executive director Philipp Joeinig. The change will take immediate effect.
It comes after Menzies transitioned into a ‘pure-play’ aviation services business, following a 2016 acquisition of ASIG and the exit from the print media logistics sector.
"I have greatly enjoyed my time with Menzies during which we have delivered on a number of key corporate and financial objectives,” Smurfit said in a statement.
He added that the company now needs an industry specialist.
Joeining, meanwhile, said: “I am very honoured to have been appointed to succeed Dr Smurfit as chairman of John Menzies plc.
“I believe the group has a very exciting future and I look forward to working with the board and the management team as we look to progressively grow the business and deliver returns to our shareholders."