The Star reports that Ayers is no longer serving as director, chairman or an employee of the company effectively immediately. His wife, Josephine Ayers, will step up from her role as vice chairman to replace him as chairman, William Thornton reports for Alabama.com.
Ayers told the Star, "It is of utmost importance to me that this newspaper continue to serve its role of reporting on matters of concern to the Anniston community and that nothing stand in the way of preserving the newspaper as an independently owned publication serving the community. I feel my resignation at this time is in the best interests of the paper and its mission."
Ayers is the third generation of his family to own the paper, and was the publisher from 1969 to 2016. The Star's story includes several tributes to him and his career.
UPDATE, Jan. 9: The University of Alabama will continue its community-journalism internship program at the Star, the university announced.