Thursday, January 10, 2008

Breaking: Top executive Clark-Johnson leaving

Sue Clark-Johnson (left), a 40-year company veteran, has been president of Gannett's Newspaper Division -- the biggest source of revenue, and of challenges -- since September 2005. The company just announced she's retiring in late May. CEO Craig Dubow says in a statement only that a successor "will be named later."

No matter who takes the job, the domino effect is likely to ripple across the company, as most publishers ultimately report to the Newspaper Division chief.

I would have bet money not long ago that Clark-Johnson's successor would be Robert Dickey, head of the Pacific Newspaper Group, a portfolio with publications in Arizona and I believe 12 other mostly western states. Dickey also is chairman of Phoenix Newspapers, which publishes The Arizona Republic. His elevation could still happen, although the Arizona, California and Nevada markets have lately been a drag on Gannett's performance.
Dickey joined Gannett at the Reno Gazette Journal in 1989, where he was retail ad manager and ad director. Department of Hmmmm: Clark-Johnson and Dickey have a shared career trajectory: She also was publisher at Reno, then Phoenix, before becoming Newspaper Division president. (Note: In an earlier version of this post, I referenced Republic publisher John Zidich, when I meant Dickey. That's what happens when you blog too fast and rely on a confusing Corporate page!)

Another possible successor: Craig Moon, publisher of USA Today. There's also Barbara Henry, publisher of The Indianapolis Star. But if the company wanted to make a really bold move, it would reach outside Gannett to someone with a completely non-print news background.

Clark-Johnson is just 60. "This is the right time to return to my life in the West -- to my family and community,'' she said in the company statement. "I am greatly looking forward to the next stage of my life, which I expect to be as rewarding as the last 40 years have been."

Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky letters, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Images: Clark-Johnson, Gannett; this morning's Arizona Republic, Newseum]


  1. "I have been with Gannett for 40 years, through evolution, transformation, good times and bad."

    Was there ever a "bad" time to be a Gannett corporate president? (except right now of course)

  2. zidich? are u kidding?

    zidich is not the top guy in phoenix, by the way

  3. Dang! You are so right. Thank you. Please see the updated version.

  4. "Few people have had more influence over the direction, strategy and success of our newspapers and, lately, our online news efforts," said chief executive Craig Dubow in a statement.

    Wonder if ol' Kreggie boy is drinkin' the cherry or grape flavor today.

  5. Any of these folks would do a great job but it will not be anyone on this list.

  6. Actually they are all not qualified to the the job that needs to happen. They need to CLEAN HOUSE at HQ of all the useless over paid execs. It's quite a joke actually.
    Goodbye Sue! Let's make it a short goodbye and let us get down to business now.

  7. Here here! the Newspaper division staff are a bunch of bums!
    Look at the corporate ad staff, marketing, especially news! What the heck do they do? NOTHING!!! Get to work now that Sue isn't there to protect all of you. Vacation is over folks!!!!
    Fustrated in the Field and ex-corporate executive.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.