One of British media's most dominant figures, Paul Dacre, is stepping down as Daily Mail editor after 26 years.
Dacre will leave the post in November, when he turns 70, but will stay with Mail publisher Associated Newspapers as chairman and editor-in-chief.
Its owner, Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), said the new editor would be announced "in due course".
In a letter to staff, Dacre thanked DMGT chairman Lord Rothmere for giving him "the freedom to edit without interference and the backing to assemble Fleet Street’s greatest team of journalists".
Reflecting on some of the biggest stories and campaigns from his tenure, he said: "Whether it has been justice for Stephen Lawrence and the Omagh bomb victims, plastic in supermarkets and in the seas, dignity for the elderly, thwarting Labour’s plans for supercasinos, or putting sepsis and prostate cancer on the map, we have shown that newspapers make a difference.”
Under Dacre's influential editorship, The Mail has become the UK's second biggest-selling newspaper, but its unforgiving editorial style has caused controversy and the campaign group Stop Funding Hate has been lobbying advertisers to pull their spend from the title.
In his departing missive, Dacre promised to continue railing against "those who seek to impose statutory regulation of the press".
"This battle is ongoing and I plant to continue playing as great a part in it as ever," he wrote.
Long-standing boss Rothmere described Dacre as "the greatest Fleet Street editor of his generation".
“I am absolutely delighted that Paul has agreed to continue to stay on after his 70th birthday as chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers in addition to advising me and taking on other broader responsibilities in the company at a time of profound upheaval in the media landscape," he said.
As well as relinquishing day-to-day editorial duties, Dacre will also step down as a board director of DMGT prior to the end of the financial year.
In reaction to Dacre's departure, Publicis Media’s UK chief executive, Sue Frogley, spoke to The Drum about his impact on advertisers with The Daily Mail. “Whether you’re a Daily Mail fan or not you can’t ignore the impact and influence Paul Dacre has had on British journalism over the last quarter of a century and consequently the wider media industry," she said.
"Despite the decline in newspaper sales The Mail has an impressive and loyal readership - both on and offline - with millions consuming their content everyday. His shoes will be hard to fill but I’m hoping the new ones will be stiletto heeled.”