‘Star Tribune’ CFO Resigns For New Job Amid Turmoil

By: Joe Strupp

Mike Riggs, chief financial officer and vice president for finance at The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minn., is leaving the paper, according to Publisher Par Ridder. In a memo to staff, first posted on the Poynter.org Romenesko Web site, Ridder revealed that Riggs is leaving to become an executive at the Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Mike. Meredith is one of the nation’s leading media companies, with premier magazine, television and book businesses, and Mike will be in a top leadership position there,” Ridder wrote. “It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Riggs’ departure comes at a turbulent time for the paper, which is facing legal action from the rival St. Paul Pioneer Press for Ridder’s alleged theft of competitive information taken when he left his former post as publisher of the Pioneer Press. Riggs was among the executives named in a Pioneer Press lawsuit claiming Ridder broke a non-competition agreement, according to the Star Tribune.

Ridder’s entire memo is posted below:

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July 18, 2007 – Mike Riggs, our CFO and senior vice president for finance and information technology, will be leaving the Star Tribune July 31 to become a senior vice president at Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa.

This is an excellent opportunity for Mike. Meredith is one of the nation’s leading media companies, with premier magazine, television and book businesses, and Mike will be in a top leadership position there. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

While we are happy for him and understand his decision, we will miss his outstanding contributions at the Star Tribune. He is one of the top talents in our industry. Last year, Presstime, the magazine of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) named Mike one of its “Twenty Under Forty,” an honor recognizing the best young talents in the industry.

Mike has been a pivotal player in moving us through the change of ownership of the Star Tribune – a challenging job that has required the highest level of financial expertise. He has led this transition skillfully and gracefully, and we appreciate all that he has done.

Prior to becoming CFO in 2006, Mike was a sales director in Interactive Media and director of business planning for the Sales division. He joined the Star Tribune in 1996 and worked for a year as a senior financial accountant. He left briefly to become a Securities and Exchange Commission reporting specialist at Graco, Inc. and returned to the Star Tribune in 2000 as a Classified Advertising finance manager for the Housing, Transportation and Call Center group. In 2001 he moved to director of business planning for the sales division and in 2005 headed up the highly successful interactive ad sales effort.

We have begun a search for Mike’s replacement. In the interim, Chuck Brown, controller, and Jon Ochetti, planning and analysis director, will report to me, and Molly Hoeg, IT director, will report to Kevin Desmond, SVP of operations.

Please join me in wishing Mike and his family all the best in their move to Des Moines.



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