By: M.L. Stein
SAYING THAT HE is “looking for new worlds to conquer,” Will Hearst is leaving as publisher of the San Francisco Examiner to join a venture capital firm specializing in technology.
Hearst, whose grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, founded the Examiner to start the Hearst media empire, will be succeeded as publisher by Lee Guittar, it was announced by Frank Bennack Jr., president and CEO of the Hearst Corp. Guittar is currently a vice president and group publishing executive of Hearst Newspapers.
The 45-year-old Hearst will become a general partner in the firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers in suburban Menlo Park.
“In the near future, technology will make possible new forms of media and I hope to play a part in developing businesses that will explore these opportunities,” Hearst said. He is departing the Examiner this month. He will, however, remain on the Hearst Corp.’s board of directors and a trustee of the trusts established by his grandfather.
Hearst, a math major at Harvard who became a computer wizard, noted that his new company is an original venture investor in several information firms, including America Online, Ascand, Compaq, Lotus, Electronic Arts and Macromedia.
The Hearst scion, who became the Examiner’s publisher 10 years ago and introduced several new ideas, said it is a better paper now. “The people who run the newspaper today are the people I knew when they were reporters, people I’ve seen grow up as journalists during the years. I think I can lay the Examiner down next to any newspaper in the country and feel proud.”
Perhaps in response to rumors that the Examiner will be merged with its JOA partner, the San Francisco Chronicle, to produce a one-newspaper town, Bennack termed the paper an important asset for the corporation.
“I think that obviously the Examiner is a very old institution that has seen a lot of management come and go, including Will’s own grandfather,” Bennack said. “We intend to try to continue to put out the best paper we know how there.”
Before joining Hearst in 1986, Guittar, 63, was president of USA Today and publisher of the Denver Post and Dallas Times-Herald.