Editor-in-chief of Independent News and Media Stephen Rae is stepping down from his position.

Mr Rae had overall responsibility for the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday World, the Evening Herald and Independent.ie.

In a statement Mr Rae said he was leaving the role "following a transformation of the group into a digital focused newsroom and content hub".

He said he was "now happy to leave the publishing business in a strong position and hand it over to a team of strong and dynamic editors.

"I am now looking forward to taking on new digital projects which will focus on my core interests of developing new revenue models for journalism along with the hugely important editorial fight against fake news."

INM CEO Michael Doorly thanked Mr Rae "for his efforts and contribution to the company over many years" and said he had "provided great editorial direction" and "built a team of outstanding editors".

It is understood the role of editor-in-chief will no longer exist and a new head of publishing will be appointed. 

This is expected to be Richard McLean, the current managing director of the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Rae has previously edited the Irish Independent and the Evening Herald.

Meanwhile INM has announced that Paul Connolly is stepping down from the company's board.

Mr Connolly was a non-executive director.  He will step down from 31 May.

The announcement was made to the stock exchange earlier today.

Mr Connolly was appointed to the INM board in March 2009 and served for over four years on the remuneration committee and one year as a member of the nomination and corporate governance committee.