Mr Fry, who has been in post since January 2009 will leave the company by March next year and the process has now been started to find his replacement.
The announcement by the group said he had ‘notified the Board of his intention to step down from his role by March 2012, thereby providing sufficient time to facilitate a smooth handover to his successor’.
He told the company’s internal magazine The Word: “I would like to have more time to spend on personal projects and with my family, and the flexibility to introduce an element of plurality into my business life.
“The main message is that I’m still around. I will be continuing in my role for up to 12 months. The recruitment process has started now and there will be a further announcement in due course.”
The move came as JP published its preliminary financial results for 2010, which showed the company saw its underlying pre-tax profits fall 29.6pc, from £43.3m in 2009 to £30.5m.
However, the group’s operating profit was up 3.9pc to £72m for 2010, which the company’s statement said was the first underlying operating profit increase, excluding acquisitions, since 2004.
Revenue for the year was down 6pc from £423.7m in 2009 to £398.1m last year but the statement said this had been offset because it had cut costs by £30.1m during the year, while its statement last year showed the publisher reduced costs by nearly £50m in 2009.
The statement said print advertising was down 7.1pc in 2010 and was declining at a slower rate than previously but the last quarter of the year was hit by public spending cuts.
It showed there was a continued growth in digital advertising, which was up 4pc on a like-for-like basis.
The results also highlighted that advertising revenues for the first nine weeks of this year were down 11.4pc.
During 2010, the group managed to reduce its net debt by £35.4m to £386.7m.
JP chairman Ian Russell said: “The pace and consistency of the economic recovery remains uncertain and this is reflected in a weaker start to 2011 than we had anticipated.
“Nevertheless, much of the Group’s work in 2010 was concentrated on improving systems and technology and making processes more efficient.
“Given the Group’s historic strengths and presence in the many communities it serves, our opportunity now is to be innovative in growing revenues both from traditional and new sources and capitalising on the economic recovery when it gathers pace.”
Mr Fry’s announcement comes after the company last week appointed Grant Murray as its new financial chief to replace Stuart Paterson who is retiring later this month.