18 April 2014

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Perch quits as Leicester Mercury editor

One of the most senior editors in Northcliffe Media has today quit after two and a half years in the role.

Leicester Mercury boss Keith Perch is standing down with immediate effect and will leave the business today, it was announced this afternoon.

His departure comes shortly after a management shake-up which saw new publishers appointed at the group’s four biggest centres – Leicester, Bristol, Nottingham and Hull.

Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan also stood down following the restructure which saw the publishers take on overall responsibility for their respective daily titles.

Keith said today:  “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.”

The newly-appointed publisher at the Leicester Mercury, David Simms, added:  “Under Keith’s editorship the Mercury has been a vibrant and influential part of Leicester life.

“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 new management structure at Leicester and the other three centres was put in place by Northcliffe managing director Steve Auckland following his appointment earlier this year.

It saw Leicester Mercury managing director Steve Hollingsworth leave to become publisher in Nottingham, and David Simms’ arrival from the regional MD’s role at Trinity Mirror’s North-East division.

The Mercury was Keith’s third editorship in the course of a long career in the regional press.

He edited the South Wales Echo from 1993-97 and the Derby Telegraph from 1997-2000 before becoming editor and later managing director of Northcliffe’s electronic publishing division.

Following the break-up of the Associated Northcliffe Digital new product development division, which he headed, he returned to newspapers as editor of the Mercury in February 2009.

Initially a temporary appointment, Keith decided to stay in Leicester after being impressed by the quality and experience of the staff.

19 Comments

  1. EyeKnow, Coalville

    Mr Perch stood up for all that was good in local papers. He was a brilliant editor – and had one of the finest minds you could ever hope to come across. Another sad day for the regional press. It’s official: The decline is now terminal.

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  2. KellyC

    Another talented editor exits the industry. Would someone who works for Northcliffe tell us exactly what editorial roles these ‘publishers’ have taken on?

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  3. Mike Lowe

    A bloody tragedy. Keith Perch was an outstanding deputy when I was editor in Derby and is one of the finest newsmen and most inspirational leaders I have ever worked with. Hopefully not a complete loss to the industry.

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  4. Paul Warren

    Nice chap by all accounts

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  5. Moody

    so who is next then? They can’t have many proper editors left?
    One in Stoke, and thats about it..

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  6. Loki

    Kind words Mike and I couldn’t agree more. I learned an awful lot from Keith but let’s not be too nice about him – he is a Chelsea fan after all… ;-)

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  7. Simon O'Neill, Oxford

    Keith is a phenomenal newsman who could spot a hole in a story at 500 yards. He’s a big loss to the industry, but I suspect he will pop up somewhere interesting soon. He taught me a lot (about journalism and five-a-side football) and for that I am eternally grateful

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  8. Paul Linford, HTFP

    One other thing that perhaps should be noted here is Keith’s huge contribution to this site. He not only set it up in the first place but has also served on its board as the Northcliffe representative for almost all of its existence.

    More here: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2010/news/holdthefrontpage-marks-its-10th-anniversary/

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  9. Moody

    anyone else notice that the comment by Rob Stokes has been removed??

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  10. Paul Linford, HTFP

    The comment ‘by’ Rob Stokes was not in fact by Rob Stokes at all, which is why it has been removed. Users should be aware that any other instances of impersonation which come to light will be treated accordingly.

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  11. midlandshack, eastmidland

    publishers?content editors? group editors? what next? group content publishers?

    Let’s do retro: back to proper local editors with authority and a base on their patch who really know their areas and their contacts. Before we all drown in a sea of meaningless job titles and faceless roles.

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  12. Moody

    Paul, thanks for clarifying.

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  13. Jeremy Clifford

    I will probably never meet a better journalist who taught so many people so much about what it takes to produce good newspapers.
    Shame about the football team he supports though.
    Jez

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  14. Matt, Stoke

    All these comments say it all about Keith. He taught me a great deal and a sad loss for Northcliffe, but I’m sure not for Keith! Enjoy life away from DMGT Keith, I sure am :)

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  15. Jeremy Deacon, Bermuda

    I only know Keith by reputation and that was damn good.
    What I don’t understand is why outstanding editors are leaving like this (John Meehan before this…..)
    I don’t understand this ‘publishers’ role and I fear that there is no going back.
    Watching from afar I see editors leaving, subbing hubs being created, presses closing…..
    I can’t see how any of these things can be easily reversed and I really fear for the future of good regional journalism that seems to me to be turning into production line journalism.

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  16. Jon Grubb

    A tragedy for newspapers and Leicester. Time to start an ex-editors club. Now that is a growing business. I never worked with but I count myself lucky to know him a little. A brilliant mind, strong principles and a passion for news. I wish him all the best.

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  17. Ends, Yorkshire

    I can understand the disappointment many feel when an editor they respect stands down, but let’s not get carried away.

    Every time a good editor vacates his seat we have a torrent of Private Frazer style doom and gloom.

    Let’s not forget these editors often replaced equally eulogised eds amid warnings that it would spark the final decent into oblivion.

    No player is bigger than the team etc

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  18. John Furbisher, Brussels

    Great idea to start an ex-editors’ club, Jon. When are you calling the first meeting?
    Best wishes to Keith.

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  19. Jon Myles, London

    A crying shame. I worked with Keith briefly at UK News and knew many others who had served under him.
    He was a consummate newspaper man with a sharp eye and a fantastic ability to motivate those around him.
    I’ve no idea what Northcliffe are playing at these days.

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