James C. Currow, 67, will be replaced by Derek J. May, 42, on Friday. Currow has served as chief operating officer, overseeing the company's 13 daily newspapers, 27 nondaily publications and Skirt! magazine.
"Jim Currow's leadership and management of our newspapers have been remarkable," Chairman William S. Morris III said. "He has accomplished major results and improvement in our company. He has brought several outstanding executives into our company and has led with vision, purpose and success."
Currow said it has been a great 13 years: "I have loved my job and the people I have worked with, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the Morris family. I leave many outstanding executives that I have had a hand in recruiting or developing, including Derek May, and I'm pleased to be able to leave the company in good shape. I am excited about beginning the next chapter in my life."
Currow plans to resume his earlier business in executive recruitment, and he will continue in a consulting role with Morris.
May has been with the Morris group 22 years, serving in many line and management capacities including technology, circulation, advertising sales and news in a number of Morris markets.
He is former publisher of the St. Augustine Record and most recently has served as assistant to the president for MPG President William S. Morris IV.
"Derek is the right person for the job in this time of intense change," Will Morris said. "We face many challenges in today's economic environment. Our customers -- both consumers and businesses -- are moving to digital solutions, and Derek is especially well-equipped to lead our company's transitions in operations, advertising sales and audience development."
May said he is honored to have the opportunity.
"I look forward to working with the great people of Morris Publishing to build a bright future for the company," he said.
The company has a concentrated presence in the Southeast with four signature holdings: The Augusta Chronicle, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, the Savannah Morning News and the Athens Banner-Herald.