The top editor at the New York Daily News is leaving.

Jim Rich, who became editor in chief of the tabloid last September, is being replaced at the top of the masthead by Arthur Browne, the newspaper's editorial page editor.

In a memo announcing Browne's appointment, New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman did not explain the circumstances surrounding Rich's exit, beyond that he was preparing "for the next chapter in his career."

The memo, which was released this morning, "stunned employees," according to Politico's Joe Pompeo.

Rich succeeded former Editor-in-Chief Colin Myler in September after Myler left to be "reunited with their family and four grandchildren."

The memo also announced the appointment of Eric Gertler to the position of of co-chairman and co-publisher at the Daily News. Gertler, who oversees the investment firm Ulysses Management LLC, will work with Zuckerman to "evolve the business for both our online and print audience."

Zuckerman mounted an unsuccessful bid to sell the New York Daily News in 2015.

Here's Zuckerman's full memo:

I am pleased to make some exciting staff announcements for the Daily News.

First, following a short transition, Arthur Browne will be the new Editor-in-Chief of the media organization. Arthur truly needs no introduction, as I feel, in so many ways, he has been the lifeblood and soul of the newspaper for decades. He has been an outstanding editor of the paper’s editorial page and, in 2007, he led a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for editorials that documented the epidemic illnesses afflicting thousands of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers. Of course, as a reporter and editor, he has chronicled six mayors, from Abe Beame through Bill de Blasio, and coauthored I, Koch, a biography of Mayor Ed Koch, and, most recently, One Righteous Man, a biography of New York’s first African-American police officer. Moreover, I have long respected Arthur’s sound judgment and appreciated the friendship we have developed over the years.

As Arthur says, “The Daily News has been my life’s work. I am now entrusted with joining all of my colleagues to deliver the great journalism that has distinguished the Daily News as a publication that stands for the interests of New Yorkers and Americans at large, fairly taking on those who do them wrong and celebrating those who do them right – while reveling in the fun and wonder of life. What a job description! What a privilege!”

Second, effective immediately, Eric Gertler will assume a new position at the paper with the title of Co-Chairman and Co-Publisher. Eric currently oversees Ulysses Ventures but, as you may know, early in Eric’s career, he worked in various positions at the Daily News, including as General Counsel (legal and labor affairs), head of business development and editorial administration, and founder of the nydailynews.com web site. He subsequently served simultaneously as president of the magazines US News, Fast Company and The Atlantic prior to launching a career as an internet entrepreneur. He, too, has a deep understanding of New York, having worked in two mayoral administrations (Bloomberg and de Blasio). On a personal note, I have long admired Eric’s work ethic and leadership qualities.

As Eric adds, “I am excited to get reengaged in the newspaper and work with the talented team at The Daily News.”

As we continue to evolve the business for both our online and print audiences, I am very confident that Arthur and Eric with our CEO Bill Holiber will serve as the right team to help the newspaper reach new heights. I continue to be as excited about this newspaper and its important role in New York City as I was the day that I bought the newspaper over twenty years ago.

As Bill Holiber notes, “I am looking forward to working with Arthur and Eric as we continue to build on the quality of our journalism and avail ourselves of the many opportunities for print, online as well as the other revenue streams we are developing.”

I also want to thank Jim Rich for his hard work and contributions to the newspaper during his tenure as editor-in-chief and wish him well as he prepares for the next chapter in his career.

Please join me in congratulating both Eric and Arthur.

Sincerely,

Mort Zuckerman
Chairman & Publisher