Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell, two media figures who led major newspaper acquisitions in recent months, are among four new members joining the board of directors of The Associated Press, it was announced Monday at the news cooperative’s annual meeting.
In other results, four incumbent directors were re-elected to three-year terms. They are William Dean Singleton, who is vice chairman and chief executive officer of MediaNews Group and chairman of the AP board; Jon K. Rust, publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications; Michael E. Reed, chief executive officer of GateHouse Media Inc., and Victor F. Ganzi, president and chief executive officer of Hearst Corp.
In addition to Murdoch and Zell, the new members are Donna J. Barrett, president and chief executive officer of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., and Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Gannett Co.
Barrett and Zell, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Tribune Co., were elected to three-year terms, while Dubow was elected to a one-year term to fill an unexpired vacancy.
Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp., was appointed by the board until the next election of directors to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Jay Smith, who announced earlier this month he was retiring as president of Cox Newspapers.
Also retiring from the AP board is Douglas H. McCorkindale, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Gannett Co. Dennis FitzSimons, former chairman of Tribune Co., resigned from the board.
In other board action, H. Graham Woodlief, vice president of Media General Inc., was reappointed to a two-year term after his elected term expired. David Westin, president of ABC News, was reappointed to a three-year term, and Bruce Reese, president and chief executive officer of Bonneville International Corp., was reappointed to a one-year term.
Murdoch completed his acquisition of Dow Jones & Co. last December, adding The Wall Street Journal to his global media conglomerate.
The same month, Zell took control of Tribune Co. after leading a buyout that resulted in the publicly traded company becoming private. The company owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, nine other daily newspapers and 23 television stations.
The AP board has 18 directors elected by AP members at their annual meeting, in staggered groups of six each year. These directors are elected to three-year terms and are eligible to serve up to a total of nine years. The board can also appoint up to six additional directors if it chooses. These seats are sometimes filled by former elected directors who first joined the board to fill unexpired terms and end their elected service with one or two years of eligibility remaining.