‘Star Tribune’ Publisher Will Exit With Sale of Paper

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By: E&P Staff

J. Keith Moyer, 54, publisher and president of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, announced today he will leave the company in March when sale of the paper by the McClatchy Co. to Avista Capital Partners is completed. ?I haven?t been fired,” he told employees. “Nor have I been asked to leave.

?I am not leaving because of the change of ownership,” Moyer said. “In fact, I believe the Star Tribune, as it was under McClatchy, is going to be in excellent hands with Avista. I like very much the people who have bet on a bright future for each of you and this company with their considerable investment dollars….

?When the sale of the Star Tribune was announced I had fully intended to remain on as your publisher,? Moyer said, according to an account in his paper. ?But I have changed my mind. I have decided this is a perfect time in my life for me to take a late mid-career break ? to stop and smell those clich?d roses, to devote more quality time to myself, my family, friends and many loved ones. I am blessed with the opportunity to do so, and I have decided to not let this chance pass.?

The Star Tribune article continued as follows.

On Dec. 26, 2006 McClatchy announced it would sell the Star Tribune for $530 million to Avista, a private equity firm with offices in New York and Houston.

OhSang Kwon, a partner at Avista, said, “In the course of the purchase process, we developed great respect for Keith and his team and all they have accomplished at the Star Tribune. We had sincerely hoped Keith would stay on, but he has made a measured personal decision to leave that we understand and respect. We are confident in Chris Harte and the rest of the management team’s ability to lead the paper while continuing to produce a great product that serves the Twin Cities.”

Bob Weil, VP/Operations at McClatchy, said, ?Keith’s strong leadership and steady stewardship as an editor and then publisher these past 13 years at McClatchy have contributed greatly to our success. As he leaves to embark on a new chapter in his life, he does so with the gratitude and appreciation of all of us who shared those years with him.”

A search for Moyer?s replacement will begin immediately, said Chris Harte, a member of Avista?s executive advisory board who will be Chairman of the Star Tribune when Avista takes control in early March. While the search is under way, Harte will also serve as interim Star Tribune publisher. He is a veteran newspaperman, who has been publisher of newspapers in Akron, Ohio, Portland, Maine and State College, Pennsylvania, and also was a corporate executive of Knight Ridder Newspapers.

Moyer told Star Tribune employees; ?Chris (Harte) has a strong newspaper background. He understands that a newspaper is a public trust. Chris will be a wonderful steward for the Star Tribune, along with OhSang Kwon, Jimmy Finkelstein and others who will help the new publisher, Chris, the Executive Team and, most importantly, all of you, develop what will undoubtedly be a new and exciting course for the company. My hope is that it will be a model for others to emulate as newspapers navigate their way out of the recently choppy waters we?ve seen ? I fully expect the Star Tribune and other newspapers to speed up the operational, strategic and philosophical changes that are necessary to adapt to an ever-shifting media landscape. And I will be cheering the industry on as I take this time for myself.?

Moyer has been publisher and president of the Star Tribune since July 2001. Before coming to the Twin Cities, he was publisher and president of The Fresno (CA) Bee, owned by The McClatchy Company. Moyer joined The McClatchy Company in 1994 as The Fresno Bee?s executive editor. For nearly 15 years previous to joining McClatchy, Moyer served in a variety of top editing roles for the Gannett Company.

Moyer, who lives in Orono with his wife, Marilyn, said they plan to remain in the Twin Cities.

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