Wednesday, March 21, 2012

McClatchy CEO Pruitt is leaving to run the AP

Gary Pruitt was chief executive of McClatchy for 16 years during the most tumultuous period in the history of the company, and the broader newspaper industry. He's being replaced by McClatchy's CFO, the company announced late today.

Pruitt, 54, led the 2006 purchase of Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion in cash and stock plus assumption of debt -- a price that's now considered vastly inflated. The company, based in Sacramento, Calif., owns that city's Bee, plus the Miami Herald and 28 other newspapers.

Pruitt is taking over the Associated Press as CEO from Tom Curley, the former USA Today publisher who recently announced his retirement.

McClatchy shares collapsed during the Great Recession, partly because of all the debt the company took on to finance the Knight Ridder deal. Over the past 12 months, MNI has fallen 11% vs. a 2% gain for Gannett's stock.

He is the third newspaper publishing chief executive to quit in recent months. Craig Dubow left in October, and the New York Times Co.'s Janet Robinson exited in December.


  1. Anyone out in McClatchyland have any thoughts about this move?

    At first glance it appears that Kevin McClatchy's new role as chairman is a sign that there finally was some push back and dissatisfaction from the family about Pruitt's performance. So, will Talamantes and McClatchy continue to put journalism before business, or will the cost-cutting resume?

  2. Good for McClatchy, bad for AP.

  3. I've always thought that guy's shifty-looking eyes and false smile fit perfectly with his law degree.

  4. Orchestrated paying way too much for Knight-Ridder, then presided over huge layoffs, and the gutting/quality decline at all properties. Made millions for himself. Now he gets kicked upstairs to AP, which is not run as a cooperative, but more like a for-profit.

    AP has staked its future in customers like Google, Yahoo! and HuffPo. Screw you legacy news organizations.

  5. This IDIOT presided over the company as it's stock price went from $75 in 2005 to less than $3 today. And he gets to run AP now!? You gotta be EFFIN' KIDDING ME!

    That's my problem. I always though gross incompetence would lead to losing my job, not getting promoted or being upwardly mobile.

    God help the AP now.

  6. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    It won't make any difference when that next debt payment comes due.
    A McClatchy employee who has somehow managed to hang on through 13 rounds of layoffs.

  7. Pruitt is another 1 percenter handsomely rewarded to slash careers. Quality does not matter. Quarterly profits do:

  8. I find it amazing after all the bruhaha over Craigy and his $30mill for disability that there is not a word about Gary's millions ($18mm?) for leaving McClatchy after driving it to teeter on bankruptcy. Especially when he cut out pensions and then cut out the 401k match. He's 10 times the fup and walks away to a bigger CEO for cumulative more than the Craigy left with.

  9. This guy combines the economic destruction of both McCorkendale (unsustainable debt from disasterous overvalued purchases) and Dubow (steered a corporate nose-dive, wiping out billions in equity while crushing tens of thousands of people and bleeding out the product).

  10. Too bad. He would have been perfect for Gannett.

  11. His former company is ready to go belly up. Yeah he would have been good for us!!!

  12. Gannett needs another proven leader. But failed white guys are out of favor at the Cryatal Palace. Quota filled for the year.

  13. Dubow well enough to serve on a board? Why would AP want this inarticulate, buffoonish turd?


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