Steve Auckland is leaving his role as chief executive of ESI Media, the publisher of the Independent brand, the London Evening Standard and London Live TV.
Auckland’s exit comes two months after ESI Media decided to close the print editions of the Independent titles and sell the i newspaper to Johnston Press.
The veteran newspaper management executive is leaving ESI Media, which also publishes the London Evening Standard and London Live TV, at the end of April after less than 18 months in the role.
Manish Malhotra, currently chief financial officer at ESI Media, will become group managing director on an interim basis, reporting to chairman Justin Byam Shaw.
Over the last 15 years, Auckland has held a number of high-profile management newspaper roles, including managing director of the Yorkshire Post, managing director of Metro, managing director of Northcilffe Media and group chief executive of Local World.
Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of ESI Media, said: “ESI Media has undergone some substantial changes in the last 18 months, including the sale of the i newspaper and the move of the Independent and Independent on Sunday titles to a digital-only format.
“Steve has made an enormous contribution by steering the group through these changes and into a strong position for the future.
Auckland said: “With the successful sale of i to Johnston Press, including a long-term syndication agreement, it’s a fitting time for me to move on. I’m leaving the business on a sounder financial footing.”