Metro managing director Steve Auckland is to join ESI Media as chief executive in October.
Auckland has worked as managing director of the Metro over two periods — firstly between 2002 and 2011, and then he rejoined the free title last December.
At ESI Media, he will work across the Evening Standard, Independent titles and will "build on the launch of London Live to take it to the next stage".
News of his appointment comes less than a week after ESI Media announced managing director Andrew Mullins was leaving the company.
ESI owner Evgeny Lebedev said: "We are ready to take our businesses to their next phase of growth and development and I am delighted to welcome Steve on board to drive this next phase for our brands. Steve's track record is second to none and he will be a great leader of our businesses."
Auckland said: “This has been a heart-breaking decision for me to make. Everyone realises my love for Metro and the people who make that business. I can’t believe how much we’ve achieved in the last six months: it’s been one of the highlights of my career.
"However, the lure to work on such iconic brands and build upon the excellent work from Andy and the team at ESI Media was just too strong. I’ve been really impressed by Justin Byam Shaw and Evgeny Lebedev’s ambitions for the group and this makes the position even more enticing… I can’t wait to get started.”
Charlie Cox has started as interim managing director of the Metro with immediate effect.
Kevin Beatty, chief executive of DMG media, said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Charlie Cox as interim managing director of Metro Newspapers with immediate effect. Charlie is a seasoned media executive who has a long association with the group.
“In 1993, he set up and ran DMGT’s commercial radio business and after selling it to the GWR group, in which DMGT retained a significant stake, left the group to join The Carphone Warehouse. He has had an on-going connection to the group working on a variety of projects including Teletext and more recently Metro Play.”