Susan Clark-Johnson Named President of Gannett’s Newspaper Division
McLEAN, VA – Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), announced today that Gary L. Watson will conclude his 39-year career with Gannett and retire as president of the Newspaper Division on September 30.
Susan Clark-Johnson has been named president of the Newspaper Division to succeed Watson. Clark-Johnson was senior group president of the Gannett Pacific Newspaper Group, Gannett’s largest regional group, and chairman, CEO and publisher of The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. Her successor will be named later.
“It’s been an incredible run with a great company,” Watson said. “It’s been my privilege to work with 37,000 professionals who clearly understand the meaning of service to our readers and advertisers. To each of these friends and colleagues, let me say thank you.
“Perhaps most gratifying has been the growth of our division from 91 daily and Sunday newspapers in 1985 to a collection of more than 170 information businesses that also includes more than 900 weekly and specialty publications, database management, software development, commercial printing and the strongest network of local web sites in the country.”
“Gary Watson was a success throughout his career in whatever role he served Gannett, from entry level reporter to publisher to president of our Newspaper Division,” said Craig A. Dubow, president and chief executive officer of Gannett. “First and foremost, Gary has always had the heart of a journalist. He has been a strong leader, not only at Gannett, but also within the nation’s newspaper industry. He was in large part responsible for many of the leading-edge strategic and tactical initiatives at Gannett during his time with us. Gary will be missed. We wish him all the best.”
“We are absolutely delighted that Gannett has an executive with Sue’s experience, management talents and leadership qualities ready to serve as president of our largest division,” Dubow said. “Sue has tremendous experience in every aspect of the newspaper business. She not only is a talented manager of very complex and far-flung operations, but she is a gifted strategist and visionary. Sue is an ideal executive to help lead Gannett into our new digital information age.”
“Taking the helm of the Newspaper Division at this moment in time is not only exciting and challenging but also humbling,” said Clark-Johnson. “There are very talented and innovative people in the division, which I believe is the best in the industry. I’m very much looking forward to working more closely with my colleagues, and becoming part of the team that will lead Gannett into the future.”
Clark-Johnson is the first woman to head Gannett’s Newspaper Division.
Clark-Johnson, 58, began her career in 1967 as a reporter at Gannett’s Niagara Gazette, in Niagara Falls, NY. She rose rapidly through the editor ranks and in 1977 was named publisher of the newspaper.
In 1983, she was promoted to publisher of the Binghamton Sun Bulletin and a year later added the responsibility as regional vice president of Gannett’s East region. She became senior group president of Gannett’s West region in 1985. In 2000, she was named Chairman and CEO of The Arizona Republic and senior group president of the Pacific Region.
Clark-Johnson serves as the secretary of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). She is a member of the board of advisors of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University and a board member of numerous Arizona nonprofit organizations.
In 2003, the National Association of Minority Media Executives awarded Clark-Johnson the Distinguished Diversity Award for Lifetime Achievement for her success in championing diversity in the media industry. She also received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Female Executives.
Clark-Johnson received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Watson, 60, began his newspaper career as a carrier for his hometown newspaper, the Rockford (IL) Register Star, where he later served as a news intern, reporter, political editor and city editor in the 1970s. He also held editor positions at The Idaho Statesman in Boise and the Springfield (MO) News Leader.
In 1981, he returned to Rockford to become president and publisher of the Register Star. In 1984 and 1985, he was president and publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer and president of the Central Newspaper Group.
In late 1985, he joined the corporate staff as president of the Community Newspaper Division. He became president of the Newspaper Division in 1990.
Watson previously served on the boards of directors of the American Press Institute and ifra, the international newspaper technology association. He currently is a member of the board of AMCORE Bank, N.A., the World Association of Newspapers and the Newspaper Association of America, where he chairs the Technology Committee.
He holds degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of Florida. He has two adult married sons.
Gannett Co., Inc. is a leading international news and information company that publishes 99 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper. The company also owns more than 900 non-daily publications in the USA and USA WEEKEND, a weekly newspaper magazine. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company. Newsquest publishes more than 300 titles, including 17 daily newspapers, and a network of prize-winning Web sites. Gannett also operates 21 television stations in the United States and is an Internet leader with sites sponsored by its TV stations and newspapers including USATODAY.com, one of the most popular news sites on the Web.
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