In an unexpected development, Local World’s Steve Auckland has resigned as chief executive and been replaced by the chairman, David Montgomery.
Just hours after attending the Is Local Journalism Dead debate in London, the former managing director of the Yorkshire Post made his announcement which has been relayed to staff this morning.
Chairman of the panel debate last night, The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade said Auckland had spoken ‘glowingly‘ of Local World’s progress and gave no inkling during his presentation, nor during drinks afterwards, that he was about to depart.
“But anyone who knows both Auckland and Montgomery would not be surprised that their relationship would eventually fracture. They are very different personalities and have distinct approaches as to how to run a business.
“Auckland is straightforward. Montgomery is much more political and manipulative. Eventually, Monty’s style was bound to upset Auckland and that’s why he decided to walk.”
Auckland began his career at Yorkshire Post Newspapers in 1981, (at that time the largest regional newspaper in the UK) moving to The Lancashire Evening Post in 1985. He returned as Sales Director to Yorkshire Post Newspapers in 1989, later becoming Managing Director for Yorkshire Post Newspapers and Yorkshire Regional Managing Director for United Provincial Newspapers (UPN) taking in the Sheffield, Harrogate and Dewsbury centres.
He then became part of the Management Buy Out team that sold and subsequently bought UPN for £360m from United News and Media in 1998 (the Daily Express Group), forming Regional Independent Media with venture capitalists Candover, Alpenvest and Goldman Sachs. During this time Yorkshire Post Newspapers won some of the most coveted awards in the newspaper industry including Newspaper of the Year on three occasions.
The group was subsequently sold to Johnston Press in 2002 for £560m, a return of over 22 times for original investors. Steve then joined DMGT’s Metro before going to Northcliffe on 2011.