Mike Williams has stepped down as editor of NME with immediate effect.
The move comes as the magazine’s publisher Time Inc UK has been sold to private equity company Epiris in a deal said to be worth about £130 million.
Williams was appointed features editor of the magazine in September 2010. He was promoted to deputy editor in June 2011 and stepped up to editor a year later, overseeing the title’s relaunch as a free weekly.
Williams said: “I've made the hardest decision I've ever had to make – I'm leaving NME. I grew up reading the magazine religiously and never for a second imagined that one day I'd get to work there. At the end of my first day I walked home thinking that even if they didn't want me back tomorrow, no one could take away the fact that I'd spent a day in the office of the coolest and greatest music publication on the planet. That I got to be the editor still blows my mind. That I was editor for five and a half years makes me feel 10 feet tall. That I got to be the guy that led NME through the most significant changes in its history and was able to deliver success and growth on every platform makes me feel prouder than I ever have or ever will in my career.
"But I'm a big believer in knowing when it's time to leave the party. And with my second child on the way, the time is right for me to step aside and let my amazing team take over. There's no better team in the music or publishing industries and it's their time to step up and take control. I leave in the knowledge that NME matters again, that it sets the agenda again, and that it's doing exactly what it always should again: turning the young people of Britain onto the music that's going to change their lives. Two weeks ago I stood on the stage of Brixton Academy and handed Liam Gallagher NME's Godlike Genius award. It was the most overdue award in NME's history. If that's not the perfect time to bow out, then I don't know what is. All farewells should be sudden. As you were…"
Group managing director Paul Cheal added: "Two-and-a-half years ago, the NME that many of us grew up with was ailing on the UK newsstand. Mike played a pivotal role in its relaunch as a free title. His passion for the brand has not only infused the free print magazine but allowed us to rapidly grow nme.com, launch new events such as Lifehacks and Cinejam and put on, year after year, bigger and better NME Awards. And his success was reflected in him being awarded BSME Editor of the Year in 2016. He has made a major contribution to NME and we wish him every success in the future."
To read Music Week's 2016 Big Interview with Williams, click here.