Mark Clifford will step down as editor- in-chief of local newspaper the South China Morning Post from April, the paper announced Monday.
SCMP Group chairman Kuok Khoon Ean said in a statement Clifford was "the driving force behind the SCMP's forthcoming redesign" and "has contributed in the convergence of the print and digital efforts of the SCMP and overhauled the paper's [journalist] training program."
Current editor CKLau will assume responsibility for editorial operations after Clifford leaves, the statement said.
There have been several editorial upheavals during Clifford's one year at the helm, including the resignation last December of business editor Stuart Jackson who came under fire in October when a young photographer was sacked for taking pictures of the wrong person at a high-profile court case.
In November, a third of the paper's editorial staff signed a petition after Clifford sacked two senior editors for producing a light-hearted leaving page for Sunday Post editor Niall Fraser, who himself had been "told to resign" by Clifford. Editor Fanny Fung and managing editor Pauline Loong resigned in January.
An employee who did not want to be named believed Clifford's resignation was linked to the staff's demand.
"It's definitely related to the petition. There's been a constant stream of people resigning because of the way he's been sacking people," the employee said. The SCMP denied any link.
Before joining the SCMP last April, Clifford was The Standard's publisher and editor-in-chief since January 2004.
Clifford will join the Asia Business Council as executive director in May. STAFF REPORTER