The head of UTV Ireland has announced she will step-down from her role in February after a difficult first year for the channel.

Mary Curtis joined the operation in the middle of 2014 and assisted with the set-up of the new channel, which launched in January last year.

She will leave the channel in early February, with MD of UTV Television Michael Wilson assuming management responsibilities for the Dublin-based operation.

Ms Curtis was previously an executive with RTÉ where she held a variety of positions, including head of Saorview and deputy director of programming at RTÉ Television.

She left the national broadcaster in 2013.

In a statement, Ms Curtis said she was delighted to be part of the establishment of UTV Ireland.

"It has been an exciting and challenging year for the team and I," Ms Curtis said.

"We have succeeded in attracting more than 2.3 million viewers every week, which is a tremendous achievement for a new television channel," she added.

Ms Curtis said it was always her intention to review her position after the channel's first year on air.

UTV Media Chief Executive John McCann wished Ms Curtis "every success in the future."

Ms Curtis is the latest high-profile name to leave UTV Ireland, following the departures of presenters Pat Kenny and Chris Donoghue last year.

UTV Media initially predicted the new channel would break even by the end of its first year but issued several profit warnings since and in June forecast the operation would record a loss of £11.5m (€15.6m) for 2015.

It blamed weaker-than-expected daytime and weekend audience figures for the performance.

UTV agreed last year to sell its two television channels, UTV and UTV Ireland, to ITV but the deal has not yet been approved by regulators.