McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt named AP CEO

Gary Pruitt

McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt has been named new Associated Press president and CEO, succeeding Tom Curley. The AP announced the appointment this evening after I called to confirm a solid tip from a Romenesko reader. (Thanks to that person — and keep them coming! jim@jimromenesko.com)

Dean Singleton, outgoing chairman of the AP Board of Directors, says in a release:

Gary has deep experience in the changing world of the news industry, an acute business sense and an overriding understanding of and commitment to AP’s news mission. His background as a First Amendment lawyer is a hand-in-glove fit with AP’s long leadership role in fighting for open government and freedom of information. And, he knows AP well.

* McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt is named Associated Press president and CEO
* CFO Patrick Talamantes is promoted to McClatchy president
* Read what Pruitt said about newspapers in a speech a few years ago

Read Pruitt’s note to McClatchy employees and memo to AP staff after the jump.

DATE: March 21, 2012
TO: All McClatchy Employees
FROM: Gary Pruitt
SUBJECT: Leadership Transition

I wanted to share with you that I will be leaving McClatchy to become president and chief executive of The Associated Press, where I have been a board member for the last nine years.

The McClatchy Board of Directors has named Pat Talamantes as my successor, effective May 16. Kevin McClatchy, a director since 1998 and a fifth-generation family member, will become chairman of the Board. Today’s press release is attached in the accompanying e-mail.

I want you to know McClatchy is in excellent hands. I have unwavering faith in Pat to lead this company. He is smart, dedicated and an extremely gifted executive who has served McClatchy well for the past 11 years as vice president, finance and CFO. In 2011, he assumed additional oversight of McClatchy’s Florida operations, which include The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and the Bradenton Herald. Pat will continue to work with a senior executive team widely considered among the best in the industry. Furthermore, the Board of Directors and the McClatchy family remain steadfast in their support of the company’s direction and its future.

I’m delighted to tell you that Kevin becomes the first McClatchy family member to lead the Board since his late uncle Jim McClatchy was chairman from 1989 to 1995. Some of you know that Kevin is a former owner, CEO and managing general partner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kevin also served on Major League Baseball’s Executive Council. But before his executive career in baseball, Kevin spent nearly a decade working in the newspaper business, including sales positions with The Sacramento Bee, The Newspaper Network and The Miami Herald. The Board will benefit from Kevin’s leadership and executive experience.

So why am I leaving?

Frankly, I fully expected to retire with McClatchy. My McClatchy experience, through good times and tough times, has been one of the most rewarding of my life. And I’ve got to tell you that I’m more optimistic now about McClatchy’s future success than I have been at any time since the “great recession.” Still, I felt I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to lead The Associated Press, one of the world’s largest and most respected news organizations, at such a pivotal time. McClatchy and AP share many of the same values, foremost among them is the commitment to high-quality journalism.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and service to McClatchy, particularly during these past few difficult years. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you, and I have been amazed and inspired by your talent, dedication and ability to innovate and adapt to new technologies and new business realities. I am honored and humbled to have been your president and CEO. You have my best wishes for the future.

Thank you.

——-

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hello AP:

I am thrilled and honored to join you in your mission and lead what I sincerely believe is the world’s most important news organization.

I’ve worked for The McClatchy Company for the past 28 years, the last 16 as CEO, and I can tell you that AP and McClatchy have much history in common. Some of McClatchy’s newspapers have been AP members for well over a century and McClatchy has been represented at various times on AP’s Board of Directors. AP and McClatchy were both founded in the mid-19th century, just 11 years apart, and both organizations are successfully transitioning their products, revenues and services for the digital era we live in today. Both companies share similar values, foremost among them are high-quality news content, independence and fairness.

I’ve had the pleasure of serving on AP’s Board of Directors for the past nine years, participating on various committees, even holding down the vice chairmanship for a period, so I’ve had a front-row seat to your hard work, dedication and innovation in action. Impressive. Whether it’s the initiative to transform AP’s video business or the launch of new and improved mobile services, the progress under Tom Curley has been remarkable. Together, we’ll build further on this innovation.

My years on the board also taught me about AP’s priority on accuracy above all in news coverage and your insistence on the highest standards of journalistic practice. As a former First Amendment attorney, AP’s leadership role in holding governments everywhere accountable is particularly close to my heart. These are values and principles to live by in our information- driven world. They benefit our business, our members and customers, and you can trust that I will uphold them.

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you and to helping assure AP’s continuing mission as the definitive source for news.

My best regards,
Gary Pruitt

Comments

comments

4 comments
  1. Mr Pruitt has always demonstrated the highest values of corporate media — paying himself as much as he could despite what ever difficult circumstances he faced, and without regard to how many employees he laid off. In Minnesota, I had the honor to work for him and admire his good grooming while listening to his inspirational words about our sacred mission at the StarTribune just before he clandestinely sold his flagship newspaper at a fire-sale price, leaving it to be run by ruthless incompetents who drove it into bankruptcy while at the same time spinning off the St Paul Pioneer Press to the bloodless bean counters of Media News. I don’t think he gets enough credit for taking two of the finest metro news outfits in the country and turning them into something quite different. Now that he is in charge of “the most important news organization in the world and an essential force in democracy” (his words) we can all sleep more soundly. Until he sells AP to China.

  2. wubbly said:

    What can be said: if you still work at a newspaper at this point– you get what you deserve. Whinging about crap CEO’s harvesting meagre profits out of declining assets … that’s their EFFING JOB, maing! I know many like pretend that newspapering is some glorious necessity but clearly consumers don’t see it that way. Time to stop pretending. Look at newspapering job skills and look what other employers are willing to pay for those skills. Jack Ham is what they pay. Stop b!tch!ing and make it better or GTFO! Don’t blame the owners for trying to get what they can whilst there’s something left to get.

  3. Thanks to Nick Coleman for summing up how Pruitt did his best to destroy the two Twin Cities newspapers — although I think the Strib has been recovering well in the aftermath of the Wall Streeters’ exit. I am ashamed to say that I once defended Pruitt’s outsized compensation.