Franz Ferdinand's drummer Paul Thomson has departed the group after two decades.

The 'Take Me Out' rockers - who formed in 2002 - have confirmed the 45-year-old sticksman has exited the Alex Kapranos-fronted band, and they admitted his decision came as a shock after 20 years on the road together.

It's not known why Paul has decided to end his tenure with the group, however, his bandmates - also including Bob Hardy, Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot - have wished him all the best for the future.

In a lengthy statement on Instagram, the group began: "Hello world. Paul is leaving the band. It was a bit of a shocker for us when we found out, so it probably will be for some of you too. Paul has been our friend for over twenty five years and we’re looking forward to at least another twenty five. He’s a funny, smart, sensitive guy. Not a bad drummer either. You don’t spend 20 years touring the world with someone without them becoming like family and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. We're glad we shared those adventures and experiences together and look forward to hearing what he gets up to next."

Paul has already handed over his sticks to Glasgow-based drummer and producer, Audrey Tait.

They continued: "After having played with Paul for so long, it’s obvious that not just anyone could sit behind the kit in FF, so we’re happy to say that one of the other best drummers in the world is joining us. Many of you in Glasgow will already know what an incredible musician Audrey Tait is and we’re thrilled to have her join us. It feels totally natural playing with her and she’s a great laugh. It has been electrifying being in the studio together and we can’t wait to play live for you all. Here’s a photo of Paul literally handing his sticks over to her in a windowless rehearsal room."

In his own statement, Paul said: "I want to thank each of you that bought a record, came to a concert and shared all these experiences with me.

“I will never forget it.

“Franz Ferdinand was, is, and always will be family and a huge part of me. My words and smile are so easy now.”

Franz Ferdinand's last studio album was 2018's ‘Always Ascending’, and new music is on the way.