Dear was the union’s youngest ever leader when he was elected in 2001 at the age of 34. He was re-elected in 2006.
He said: “It was the proudest moment of my life being elected general secretary and I have been honoured to have had the opportunity to serve our union at every level over many years.
"Throughout all my years as a lay activist or a full time official I have never failed to be inspired by the spirit of the NUJ members and their continued commitment to fight for social and economic justice. My deep thanks go to all those – staff, reps and members – who do so much to make the NUJ the fantastic union it is and whose friendship and solidarity I have been fortunate to share over the years”.
Dear's departure comes at a time when some within the union are proposing that membership of the NUJ should be extended to all those working in the media, even if they are not journalists. This would counter a fall in membership caused by the widespread cut in editorial jobs over the past few years.
Among the favourites to succeed Dear would be his deputy, Michelle Stanistreet.
- Pic: Jeremy Dear speaking at a demo outside Bush House against job cuts at BBC World Service. (Jon Slattery)