‘New’ Gannett mixes some old key executives with New Media officials to head new company

From USA Today

Gannett on Wednesday named a mix of leaders from the old Gannett and its acquirer, New Media Investment Group, to lead the media company.

Mike Reed will serve as CEO of the newly combined public company, which took on the name of Gannett Co. when the merger was finalized Tuesday. He previously was CEO of New Media. Paul Bascobert will serve as CEO of the new company’s operating subsidiary, Gannett Media Corp., as previously announced.

In a joint interview, Reed and Bascobert said they assembled their executive team with an eye on cohesion as the company aims to become a digital media powerhouse. The new Gannett has more than 250 daily publications, including USA TODAY, as well as several hundred weeklies and an array of digital marketing services.

“We’ve spent a lot of time carefully selecting the management team for the company, and it’ll be a good blend of the two companies on the management team, which will help the culture issue,” Reed said.

Bascobert said they sought to “create a careful balance between the two organizations” with a goal of ensuring people are on the same page culturally and strategically.

Key executives, who will report to Bascobert, include:

  • Alison Engel, previously Gannett’s chief financial officer, who will serve as CFO of the new company. Engel’s role was announced previously.
  • Maribel Perez Wadsworth, previously USA TODAY Network president, who will serve as president of news and will continue to serve as USA TODAY publisher.
  • Kevin Gentzel, previously president of USA TODAY Network Marketing Solutions, who will serve as chief revenue officer.
  • Polly Grunfeld Sack, general counsel and senior vice president of New Media’s operating division, GateHouse Media, who will serve as general counsel.
  • Kris Barton, previously Gannett’s chief product officer, who will take on the same role.
  • Bernie Szachara, previously president of newspaper operations for GateHouse, who will serve as president of U.S. publishing operations.
  • Jason Taylor, previously president of New Media Ventures and GateHouse Live, the company’s events business, will serve as president of events and promotions at the new company.
  • Samantha Howland, previously senior vice president of human resources for GateHouse, who  will serve as chief people officer.
  • Jay Fogarty, previously senior vice president for corporate development at GateHouse, who will serve in that role for the new company.

In addition, Henry Faure Walker will serve as CEO of Newsquest Media Group, a publishing arm in the United Kingdom. Adam Reinbach will serve as president and CEO of BridgeTower Media, which produces business, home furnishings, legislative and other digital and print publications and events. Bill Scanlon will serve as interim head of UpCurve, which provides services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Gannett said it will later fill the chief marketing officer role.

New Media’s purchase of Gannett, using a combination of cash and stock, was valued at approximately $1.1 billion as of Monday’s market close, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That was down from about $1.4 billion when the deal was announced in August because of a decline in New Media’s stock price.

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