Leicester Mercury editor Keith Perch resigned from paper with immediate effect yesterday – becoming the third high-profile editor to leave owners Northcliffe since July.
Perch, who previously edited the South Wales Echo and the Derby Telegraph, took up the job in 2009 following the departure of Nick Carter.
His decision to leave comes three months after the Mercury’s owner Northcliffe Media announced a company restructure in which former Leicester Mercury MD Steve Hollingsworth was named publisher of the Nottingham Post Media Group and ncjMedia (Newcastle Chronicle and Journal) and MD David Simms was made publisher for the Leicester Mercury Media Group.
Since that announcement Lincolnshire Echo editor Jon Grubb and Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan have also left Northcliffe.
Perch, who also had a spell as editor and MD of Northcliffe’s digital business, told staff: ‘The past two and a half years have seen unprecedented change in the regional press and, although I have enjoyed every minute of editing the Leicester Mercury, I think now is the right time for me to seek a fresh challenge.
‘The team in Leicester is outstanding and I would like to thank them all for their loyalty, support and commitment to the paper.”
In a statement the newly-appointed Simms said that under Perch’s editorship the Mercury had been a ‘vibrant and influential part of Leicester life”, adding: ‘He has been a passionate ambassador for our business – he’s been a positive influence across the region, and proud of the newspapers he’s worked on.
‘He has recently driven plans for a new Saturday magazine and weekend edition which will launch later this month and we’ve been working together on plans to boost our business coverage.
‘We wish him all the best in the future and I’ll be working on the future editorial structure in the weeks ahead.”
The most recent ABC figures for the Mercury show a 5.5 per cent drop in year-on-year circulation, while over the past three years sales are down 21.2 per cent.