The charity, currently attempting to find alternative sources of revenue due to a £10m slump in income from legacies, has announced that its comms and fundraising teams are to merge.
The new function - to come into being in January - will be headed by fundraising and marketing director David Brann, in the newly created role of director of fundraising and comms.
Wake-Waalker will leave at the end of the year.
Brann has worked for the RNLI for eight years and in his current post for 18 months. He will take charge of almost 250 staff, including the 25- strong comms team and ten regional educational officers.
There are around 50 fund-raising staff at its headquarters in Poole, Dorset, with 150 more in the regions.
He said that despite Wake-Walker's redundancy, he planned to 'keep the headcount the same' through 2003, 'reassessing' staffing levels in 12 months time.
Despite being part-time chairman of the Legacy Promotion Campaign which was set up six months ago (PRWeek, 17 May) by 80 charities to increase money raised through legacies, Brann has been tasked with finding alternative sources of revenue.
While legacies are the charity's top earner there has been a dramatic slump in the last year from around £78m in 2001 to £68m this year, a fall that is blamed on the performance of the UK stock market.
The RNLI predicts that the amount it receives from legacies will fall even further to around £61m in 2003.
One way of making up this shortfall is to attempt to significantly boost membership, doubling it from 250,000 to 500,000.
The RNLI wants to raise an average of £115m per year over the next five years.