The mechanism of chromatin compaction in mitosis has been well studied, while little is known about what controls chromatin decompaction in early G1 phase. We have localized the Condensin subunit Brn1 to a compact spiral of rDNA in mitotic budding yeast cells. Brn1 release and the resulting rDNA decompaction in late telophase coincided with mitotic spindle dissociation, and occurred asymmetrically (daughter cells first). We immunoprecipitated the GTP-exchange factor Lte1, which helps activate the mitotic exit network (MEN) in anaphase, with mitotic Brn1. In lte Delta cells Brn1 release was delayed, even at temperatures that do not impair mitotic exit. Mutations in MEN pathway components that act downstream of Lte1 similarly delayed rDNA decompaction. We found that Brn1 release in wild-type cells coincided with the release of Cdc14 phosphatase from the nucleolus and with mitotic CDK inactivation, yet it could be selectively delayed by perturbation of the MEN pathway. This may argue that different levels of Cdk inactivation control spindle disassembly and chromatin decompaction. Mutation of lte1 also impaired rotation of the nucleus in early G1. The EMBO Journal (2009) 28, 1562-1575. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.111; Published online 23 April 2009