The Manchester Evening News says Woodward will be the kingmaker in selecting his successor in what is set to be his last major decision before he ends his 16-year association with the club.
United's last three chief executives - Woodward, David Gill and Peter Kenyon - have all been internal appointments. The club's managing director, Richard Arnold, joined United in 2007 and effectively occupies the same role Woodward did before he replaced Gill as the de facto chief executive in 2013.
Sources say many of the staff at United are 'gutted' Woodward is leaving and shocked by the timing of his resignation. Although Woodward was skewered by the Uefa president Alexander Ceferin over his role in the Super League, some sources are adamant Woodward was genuinely against the concept and has 'taken a bullet for the Glazers'.
Yet some are sceptical about that narrative given Woodward's compliance with the Glazers, which dates back to his advising the family on their takeover of United in 2005. Woodward is understood to have told confidants he 'underestimated' the heated fan backlash to the breakaway league and conceded he made a mistake.