Birmingham’s new owners Trillion Trophy Asia Limited (TTAL) decided the club needed a new figure at the helm, and in former Chelsea and Italy player Zola they acquired a man with an unmistakably higher profile than Rowett.
Yet Zola has a mixed record as a manager. He was sacked from his last job, with Qatari side Al Arabi, in June, after a poor set of league results.
Rowett felt he should have been afforded longer in charge, after two years of making clear progress at Birmingham.
He said in a statement released by the League Managers Association: “I am extremely disappointed that my time as manager of Birmingham City has come to an end, especially as I felt we were only halfway through the project and I strongly believed we were on course to achieve our objectives.”
Rowett is looking for a way back into football, and will hope his record at Birmingham stands him in good stead.
He added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the players, fans and everyone at the club for their support and hard work during my time at Birmingham City.
“I wish them well for the future and look forward to my next challenge in the game.”
Zola’s first game in charge ended in a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton on Saturday evening.