Hawkins took on the role in 2004, having previously spent nine years as Safeway director of communications. Previously, he was WHSmith director of corporate affairs for six years.
The association will recruit for a successor through an, as yet, undecided recruitment consultancy firm.
BRC chairman Sir Geoff Mulcahy said: 'Kevin has led the BRC through a period of accelerating change for the retail industry with remarkable success. We intend to appoint a similarly high-calibre successor to this important job representing the retail industry in the UK and EU.'
The association said it will be 'business as usual', with Kevin continuing to lead the organisation until his retirement.