Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bulletin: GCI reorganizes U.S. newspapers; Zidich to West Group chief; Hollingsworth, Kane, Hudler now over redefined Midwest, East, South groups

Confirming recent speculation on Gannett Blog about a big U.S. Community Publishing shakeup, Corporate has just released the following statement:

Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing division has named John Zidich president of the West Group. In addition to this new role, Zidich continues as president and publisher of The Arizona Republic. U.S. Community Publishing's West Group includes media organizations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.

"John is a longtime Gannett executive who fully understands all aspects of our operations. He's one of our best strategic thinkers and continually demonstrates his commitment to serving our readers in a multi-platform world," said Robert Dickey, president of U.S. Community Publishing. "Phoenix will finish the year with one of the strongest metro performances across Gannett and John will bring that level of performance and his expertise to the entire group."

Zidich was named president and publisher of the Arizona Republic in September 2005. Prior to that, he was president and chief operating officer in Phoenix and president and publisher at the Reno Gazette-Journal. He launched his career at Gannett in 1977 at The Record in Stockton, CA.

Zidich succeeds Laura Hollingsworth who has been named president of the newly created Midwest Group, which includes U.S. Community Publishing media located in Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and South Dakota. Hollingsworth also continues in her role as president and publisher of The Des Moines Register.

In other related group changes, Michael Kane, president of Interstate Group, has been named president of the newly defined East Group. The Interstate Group has merged with the East Group and includes U.S. Community Publishing media in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia. Wisconsin media operations, previously in the Interstate Group, moved to the Midwest Group. Kane continues in his role as president and publisher of The Indianapolis Star.

Carol Hudler remains president of the South Group, which includes U.S. Community Publishing media in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee, along with those in North Carolina and South Carolina, which previously were in the East Group. Louisiana media operations, formerly in the South Group, moved to the Midwest Group. Hudler also is president and publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville.

Groups at a glance
West: Zidich, President – Phoenix
Mark Winkler, VP – Palm Springs, Visalia, Tulare, Salinas, Reno
Steve Silberman, VP – Salem, Great Falls, St. George, Fort Collins, Guam

Midwest: Hollingsworth, President – Des Moines, Iowa City, St. Cloud & Sioux Falls
Linda Ramey-Greiwe, VP – Springfield, Mountain Home and all Louisiana properties
Genia Lovett, VP – All Wisconsin properties

South: Hudler, President – Nashville and all Tennessee properties
Leslie Hurst, VP – Jackson (MS), Montgomery, Pensacola, Hattiesburg
Mark Mikolajczyk, VP – Brevard, Fort Myers, Tallahassee, Greenville, Asheville

East: Kane, President – Indianapolis, Rochester, Binghamton, Westchester, Poughkeepsie
Howard Griffin, VP – Wilmington, Cherry Hill, Staunton, Vineland, Burlington, Salisbury
Tom Donovan, VP – Asbury and all Northern New Jersey properties
Margaret Buchanan, VP – Cincinnati, Louisville, Richmond, Muncie, Lafayette, Lansing, Battle Creek, Port Huron, MNCO

Clearly, this is a big promotion for Zidich; he's now also a contender to replace Dickey. For Hollingsworth, is this a diminution in her overall authority? Kane? Hudler? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. This is nothing more than further rearranging of deck chairs. It's still the same (lame) ship. Same (lame) Captain. Same lame First Mate.

    Nothing but different faces barking the same old orders to the crews.

  2. Is this a consolidation? Is the company now less top heavy?

    What's the latest word on the copy desk consolidations? Is that still a go for 2011?

  3. There are still four newspaper groups.

    And this obviously represents a big promotion for Zidich. He's also now a contender to replace Dickey.

    But what about Hollingsworth? Is this a diminution in her overall authority? Kane? Hudler?

    Total the revenue and profits for each of these newly defined groups; does it essentially remain the same as before? Or have some grown bigger at the expense of the others?

  4. Assuming Kane, as new head of East Group, keeps his office in Indianapolis, this means Wilmington is no longer a geographic seat of power. That's not only a loss of prestige, it's also a loss of resources.

  5. Hoe will this afect the newly created CSS? These had the Circulation sales departments being managed out of some of the old group offices. Fort example, the west groups team as based in Des Moines reporting to Greg Castro. So will they still have the circ sales duties for the west group or will that also chnage to match Luara's new duties? Same question with the other groups.

    Overall, this seems like a pretty solid plan.

  6. Seems as if the most ineffective Publisher in Gannett will get another pass. Amy Pack continues to slide by with new bosses and Group Presidents. Everytime someone has had her under thier command they are transfered, fired, promoted, get a role chnage or something before they see this in her. Then again, she is one of Bob's people. Only difference is that she has been stuick in the same place for 14 years while others move and are promoted.
    Eventually they will see the light, she will go away and they will get a GM to run those newspapers and then we will finally see some improvements in Visalia and Salinas.....hopefully this happens before they close us down

  7. Amy Pack is one of the best publishers I have worked for.

  8. Leslie Hurst is a great leader and publisher. She'll do great things for Jackson. The other jobs have prepared her well to step in there and make some real changes to make the product more profitable. Good for her.

  9. Three thoughts.

    1) A very, very smart reorganization. Bob Dickey always impresses me.

    2) This is a big increase in responsibility and vote of confidence for Kane. At least as much a win for him as Zidich here, actually even more. And well deserved.

    3) Those are some ancient pictures there, esp Zidich and Hudler.

  10. 1:32 I wish someone would supply new photos of all GCI's executives. I do the best I can with available mugs I find on the web.

    Any executive may send me a current photo directly, on a no-questions-asked basis to jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot]com

  11. Could someone name five (if there are any) Gannett Executives that are professional, successful and admired?

  12. I worked for Gannett for five years and I wondered then as I do now: Does it really matter who the regional executive is and what division a property finds itself in in terms of operation of the individual newspaper? Not that I ever could see. But I was just an assistant managing editor

  13. Most, if not all of the Gannett executives with at least two of those three attributes also share a third. They are no longer with the company.

  14. Having worked at the Arizona Republic for many years, I can say that Zidich is a nice person (at least from my experience) however, I would not say that he is smart, clever, innovative, forward thinking or anything that is necessary in this modern world to move a corporation and division forward. The promotion came mainly because of the close relationship that he has with Dickey. Zidich has provided nothing to the Arizona Republic and if I were running GCI, I would fire rather than promote someone like Zidich.

  15. Why do they need regional divisions? Why not just go back to the days when local publishers ruled their roosts? It strikes me that all this does is perpetuate a top-heavy company filled with high-priced execs. The problem is on the local level, as we have to develop as quickly as possible new digital solutions to stop ads from draining away. These execs will be of little help with this and often execs get in the way, dithering over decisions that are becoming life or death for this company.

  16. Definitely a boost for Kane. He already seemed to be on the rise with the recent consolidation of Gannett functions over the last few years in Indy and Louisville. For him to pick up New York (well, mainly Rochester) and the strong New Jersey group is a strong vote of confidence. I do wonder, though, if the group headquarters will continue to reside in Indianapolis or move out east. Rumor always has been that Kane's family still lives in Rochester and that he heads back there every weekend.

  17. Oh god, I am dizzy. But really, in the scheme of things, what will all this change? We're still on the Titanic, and I see the iceberg coming.

  18. I was thinking the same thing about that picture of Carol... she looks terrific in person, but that photo must be like 10 years old.

  19. Other than Zidich, who else was considered for one of these four group presidencies? Margaret Buchanan? Arnie Garson?

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. Furloughed Fury12/15/2010 8:44 PM

    I agree totally with 2:32, are these 6 to 7 figure knuckleheads really needed in a company that has to cut costs to maintain the illusion of profitability? Looks like we have some candidates to be cut in the 2011 staff elimination sweepstakes. Less chiefs, more Indians!

  22. Wasn't Donovan seen as the next group prez for the east. I can't imagine he's too thrilled as just a veep in this newly formed group ... And, he loses two properties (Cherry Hill and Vineland) ... Less is more ... And what happens to the regional finance power seat in Wilmington. Lemire's days numbered?

  23. Lemire's days are probably numbered because he is competent and does not fit in. Maybe he'll get punished by being sent back to cherry hill as publisher or worse to vineland.

  24. Re 9:03 a.m....I think you're right about Donovan. He was groomed by Gary Sherlock in Westchester, became the publisher when Sherlock retired and was thought by some to be the next East prez when he moved to Asbury Park around the same time that Bob Collins was preparing to retire.

    What happened? Who knows. Donovan seemed like a sharp enough guy to me, but sometimes that's not enough in this ass-kissing, yes-man/yes-woman culture called Gannett.

  25. Unless they are cutting positions, this is a waste of time.

  26. Reminds me of the Cabinet scene in "Blazing Saddles." "Gentlemen! We've got to protect our phony baloney jobs!" "Harrumphs" all around. Except for one guy. "I didn't get a harrumph out of you. You watch your ass."

  27. You would think this was the first re-organization of the newspaper division. Anytime one of the group presidents retires, there is a re-organization. Wake up.

  28. The last reorganization was in June 2008. Although two group presidents left the company at the time -- Barbara Henry and Denise Ivey -- I don't know whether their departures were true retirements.

    In any case, a reorganization of this type is not an everyday event; it's a big deal.

  29. A reorganization like this is not a big deal, those people don't do anything anyway, so it is irrelevant whom they are overseeing you should realize that Jim.


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