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.