BOSTON >> The Boston Pops is taking over the city's signature July Fourth celebration.

The Pops announced Monday that it will produce the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular going forward. Co-founder and longtime executive producer David Mugar has stepped down after 43 years at the helm.

The Pops will also assume management responsibility of Boston 4 Productions, which produces the event.

Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart says the move gives the Pops the best chance to be in control of the event's fate. The event is one of the nation's signature Independence Day celebrations.

Lockhart says the Pops is in talks with several organizations about funding the event and expects to announce sponsorship plans over the next couple of months. Traditionally, the costs of the celebration are covered by corporate sponsors.