David Arkin, the senior vice president for content and product development at GateHouse Media, is leaving the company next month, according to a memo from GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis.

Arkin's new job will be chief content officer for Community Impact, a chain of 21 newspapers in Austin, Houston and Dallas Fort-Worth, according to the memo, which was sent to GateHouse staffers Wednesday.

The company has begun a search to replace Arkin.

Arkin leaves GateHouse, a newspaper chain that owns 125 dailies, in the midst of its three-year bid to acquire additional properties across the United States. GateHouse mostly runs newspapers in local markets, which have been relatively insulated from the decline in national advertising that has hit regional newspapers particularly hard.

In January 2015, GateHouse completed its purchase of Halifax Media Group, a company that owned 34 U.S. daily newspapers, including the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Columbus Dispatch.

Arkin was in charge of creating the company's Austin-based center for news design, which was a lynchpin of the company's strategy to consolidate copyediting and production services for the company's various titles. He also oversaw the company's digital efforts; Davis credited him with pushing for "new, organizational structures and the use of digital analytics."

Here's Davis' memo:

Dear Colleagues,

It is with very mixed feelings that I write to tell you that David Arkin, our Senior Vice President for Content and Product Development will be leaving GateHouse to become Chief Content Officer for Community Impact, a group of 21 award winning, hyper-local newspapers serving communities in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets. The free newspapers have a total circulation of 1.6 million.

I have worked with David for nearly 10 years and watched him develop from a lot of raw talent, to a truly great leader of our news and digital operations. I’m sad to lose that. However, for David, this new role means getting back into community journalism and a lot less travel (and more time with his family, including his three young children). I know he’s excited about that and I’m excited for him. David has accomplished an enormous amount over the last several years.

He launched our Center for News & Design in May of 2014 which today provides editing and design services for 220 GateHouse newspapers and is also home to More Content Now, our niche content business, and Community Content, which processes briefs and events for our papers. Reflecting the quality of its work, the Center has recently begun to take on significant commercial clients.

David used our centralized content services platform to develop innovative programs focused on quality journalism. For example, Pinnacle, our national enterprise reporting mentorship program, continues to produce great work like the recent piece examining the impact of substitute teachers in America.

Finally, David has led the transition of our newsroom culture from print to digital to mobile first. He initiated large-scale programs like reporter-produced video, social media engagement and digital journalism training, and focused our newsrooms on new, organizational structures and the use of digital analytics. And, most recently, David led the development of the new, Garcia-designed responsive sites that we are currently rolling out.

David has accomplished all this with the support of a terrific team, including Tom Clifford, recently hired as VP of the Center for News and Design. We are confident that this team will continue to do a great job supporting our GateHouse operations. We will begin the process of identifying David’s replacement immediately.

In our discussions about what was a difficult decision, David shared how proud he is of his team and the digital transformation work happening across GateHouse newsrooms today. David also spoke to how much he values the relationships he has developed over the past decade with hundreds of GateHouse journalists. David’s last day will be July 7th. Please join me in wishing David all the best!

Kirk