Steve joined the then newly-created company as chief executive at the start of the year having previously occupied the same role with Northcliffe Media.
He has now decided it is a “good time to move on” and David, previously non-executive chairman of the company, has been appointed CEO with immediate effect.
David is replaced in the chair on an interim basis by Andrew Wilson of Artefact Partners, one of LW’s shareholders.
Said Andrew: “We are grateful to Steve for his work through the first months of Local World in guiding a smooth transition of ownership as well as optimising the performance of our operations.
“The Board is encouraged by the performance to date of the new company and is united behind David Montgomery and the executive team in seizing the opportunity for Local World to re-invigorate UK local media with a transformation strategy, underpinned by investment in technology and people.”
Steve said: “Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last two and a half years. It’s been an amazing time; I just can’t believe it’s gone so quickly.
“I now leave a business with a great vision and an even more talented team of leaders to deliver it.
“I always said that people are the most valuable resource to any business. We’ve been able to assemble a highly skilled, experienced and motivated team who have outperformed the local media business making Local World even more desirable to investors and employees.
“It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with them. With David assembling a new central management team, it’s a great time for me to move on.”
Steve took over as managing director of Northcliffe Media in March 2011 after Michael Pelosi stood down, having previously been managing director of the freesheet Metro for nine years and boss of Yorkshire Post Newspapers before that.
While at Northcliffe he appointed a swathe of new editors and assembled a new-look senior management team, some of whom then accompanied him to Local World.
However the departure of two his key lieutenants, Rich Mead and Karen Wall, in a previous management shake-up announced in July, sparked industry speculation about his future.
In an email to colleagues, Steve said his departure left “no ambiguity” about who was running the company.
Friday’s announcement came less than 24 hours after Steve spoke at last night’s launch of the new second edition of the book ‘What Do We Mean By Local?.’
Industry leaders who attended the event said Steve had given no indication of his forthcoming departure, either in the speech or during the drinks reception afterwards.