The 48-year-old actor – who reached the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 – joined the BBC soap in 2006.
Wood said in a statement: “I've had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.
"I'll of course miss everyone there but I'm grateful they have left the door open for Max and I'm excited to see what the next chapter holds."
EastEnders' executive producer Jon Sen added: "Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.
"We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out."
Max Branning arrived in Albert Square as the estranged father of Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements) and stayed to rebuild their relationship.
He was joined by Jo Joyner as his wife Tanya Branning and has had a number of high profile storylines including his affair with with Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner).
Wood took a brief hiatus from the soap in 2015 when businessman Max was sent to prison after being wrongfully charged for the murder of Lucy Beale.
Max has gradually lost all his family, with his children Bradley and Abi both dying after falling from the roof of the Queen Vic pub, while his daughter Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) became an alcoholic and ran off to New Zealand.
Max recently sold his half share of Walford East restaurant to Ian Beale but was cheated out of the proceeds.
Max is currently raising granddaughter Abi - named after her mother - with his ex-wife and sister-in-law Rainie Cross.
EastEnders bosses are expected to be composing an explosive exit for his character when he officially bows out of Walford.
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