He has been in post just under three years, after being editor-in-chief at the Evening Leader in Wrexham, and will leave shortly.
Richard said: “It has been a great privilege for me to edit the South Wales Echo and I have loved every minute of it here.
“The Echo is one of the great regional newspapers and has a very talented editorial team. I would like to thank them for their support and hard work.”
A statement from Trinity Mirror said: “We would like to thank Richard for his hard work, dedication and professionalism since taking the editor’s chair in 2005 and to wish him all the best with his future plans.”
Before joining the Evening Leader in January 2003, Richard, (38), had worked for Trinity Mirror – publisher of the South Wales Echo – for 12 years.
He began his career as a trainee news reporter at the Daily Post and Liverpool Echo in 1989 and was later appointed news editor at the Daily Post before joining Wales on Sunday in the same role in 1995.
A move back to the Daily Post saw him take on the role of assistant editor before becoming deputy editor in 1999.
The campaigning paper has run a number of initiatives under his stewardship, including winning a pledge from railway firm Arriva on new rolling stock, and a bid to bring a £14bn military training academy to the area.
Richard has overseen the branding project, the revamp of the Saturday paper and the introduction of the live it! supplement, and has led major campaigns such as that which helped to win the St Athan Metrix contract for South Wales.
In May, 2005, he summed up the paper’s direction, saying: “I want to continue the Echo’s positioning as the people’s paper – representing them, campaigning for the things they care about, challenging authorities on their behalf and being as relevant as possible to them.”
The paper sells 50,422 copies Monday-Friday, down in the latest ABCs 9.6 per cent year-on-year.
An official date for Richard’s departure is yet to be determined.