It is not known what job title Auckland will assume, but confirmation of his return to the Daily Mail & General Trust-owned media owner is expected to be announced later today. It follows yesterday's shock announcement that managing director Linda Grant is leaving the business.
Auckland resigned as chief executive of Local World, the regional newspaper operation last month after less than a year in the role.
He was previously chief executive of Northcliffe Media before taking control of the local press group after DMGT sold a number of local titles – including the Hull Daily Mail, Leicester Mercury and Bristol Evening Post – for £52.5m in cash and a 38.7 per cent stake in the new business.
MediaWeek understands Boston Consultancy Group has been conducting a review of parent Daily Mail & General Trust’s (DMGT) businesses for the past three months, although other senior leaders within the group are still waiting to hear any actionable feedback from the process.
Whether Metro's leadership changes are a result of the review process is unclear.
In DMGT’s annual report earlier this month, Metro reported revenues dropped 10 per cent in the year to 30 September to £80 million, attributed to the difficult comparisons with its London Olympics year.
Grant replaced Steve Auckland as managing director in March 2011, and created the brand's first commercial director role last summer, appointing BBC Worldwide's Matt Teeman.
Prior to joining Metro, Grant held the position of commercial development director for DMG Media, a role that she held for six years after leaving Capital Radio Group as managing director of its national commercial division.
A DMGT spokesperson was unable to comment at time of publication.