Thursday, April 07, 2011

USAT | Former pub Black out as education chief

Cathie Black, one of Al Neuharth's most high-profile proteges, resigned under fire today as New York City's public schools chief, just three months after taking over.

Her abrupt departure was nearly as surprising as her appointment last fall by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. When Bloomberg hired her from Hearst Magazines to run the nation’s largest public school system, people in New York and across the country -- including some of the mayor’s closest aides -- were stunned, The New York Times says today.

The school system has 1,500 schools and more than one million students. At the time of her appointment, Black, 66, president and then publisher of USA Today for eight years starting in 1983, was chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, publisher of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and other titles.

Black's resignation marks a rare defeat for a woman Neuharth, USAT's founder, plucked from near obscurity to lead the paper during a critical period, just a year after its launch. "Without her, USA Today would likely have failed," Neuharth, 86, told the NYT when Bloomberg handed her the job.

She and the now-retired Gannett CEO remained friends over the following three decades. In October 2010, Black and another Neuharth confidant and former USATer -- Frank Vega -- received that year's Al Neuharth Award for Excellence the Media.

Earlier: Neuharth made offers you couldn't refuse, Black said.

Related: A trailblazer with an eye on profitability -- and $47,600 Bulgari bracelets.


  1. This paves the way for Black to return to salvage USA Today. Martore has been trying to drive this for months.

  2. 1:53 Now, that would be a hoot.

  3. No way would she give up the luxe life of NYC's Upper East Side for McLean, Va. And she couldn't run the paper as a telecommuter, either.

  4. More of the executive teams of USA Today are run by telecomuting. Ruddman Davis, Lee Jones, Jeff Wilkes, Heather Frank, Lori Erdos, Tony Hill, Christopher Wilcox are in New York or San Francisco.

  5. USA Today sports president Tom Buese, whatever that job is, lives in New York.

  6. Dude I just saw CB on CNN. She doesn't look like this photo. Based on CNN she hadn't in decades. Update your file. Woof!!!

  7. She's got a gazillion dollars and is 66. Why take the job in the first place? Hubris...the bane of Big-G execs past and present.

  8. Why take the job, indeed. As we remember, she has a temper and a tendency to shoot from the hip. She also was put in charge of the New York public schools although she didn't put her own kids through the public school system.
    I think the turning point came at a recent meeting about overcrowding in the schools, at which she quipped:
    "Could we just have some birth control for a while?...It would really help us."

  9. 3:36 Yet another reason why the Crystal Palace is so empty. I think Gannett's new CDO also commutes from NY.
    We who live in Virginia call these northerners carpetbaggers.

  10. 6:13 the CDO works and lives in Virginia. But once again facts don't mean much here!


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