After a 40-year career of journalistic excellence and philanthropic leadership, Mike Philipps plans to retire from his job as president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Philipps, 67, informed the foundation trustees at their regular meeting that he will remain in his position for up to another year, during which time the foundation, the philanthropic arm of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), will search for his successor.
Philipps started with the foundation in February 2008, at a time when financial crisis gripped the nation’s economy, significantly affecting the media industry, universities and the foundations that support both of them. He guided the foundation to stability by focusing support on excellence in journalism, building healthy communities and improving quality of life through education, social services, arts and civic affairs.
“Mike is tireless in his efforts to position the foundation as a champion of journalism and a benefactor to countless programs that touch thousands of lives in meaningful ways,” said Robin Davis, lead trustee of the foundation and vice president of strategic planning and development for The E.W. Scripps Company. “He is very modest about his contributions to the foundation, to all of the communities in which Scripps does business, and to the universities that we support, but the foundation is more focused and better prepared for the future thanks to his efforts.”
Philipps has directed the foundation’s work toward encouraging its partner universities to adapt to the changing practices of the media industry.
“We refocused the foundation from an organization rooted exclusively in print and broadcast to one that is now strategically aligned with the multi-platform and digital priorities of Scripps,” said Philipps. “One of my prime concerns was making sure university professors are teaching the next generation of journalists how to get the job done in the digital age.”
Philipps also supported university-level journalism education for African-American and Hispanic students. The Scripps Howard Foundation has strong partnerships with Hampton University, Florida International University and Ohio University. The foundation provides paid internships for 80 students a year from many universities and offers faculty continuing-education programs.
The foundation also operates the highly respected Scripps Howard Awards, which annually recognize the best work of journalists from around the nation.
The foundation leadership job was a high-profile second career for Philipps after his 30 years with The Cincinnati Post/Kentucky Post. He served in numerous positions at the paper, including assistant city editor, news editor, metropolitan editor and assistant managing editor. He served as editor from 2001 until it published its final edition in December 2007.