By: Todd Shields
In elevating Jonathan P. Wolman to senior vice president, The Associated Press has ignited speculation that he soon will replace longtime AP CEO and President Louis D. Boccardi, who turns 65 in August. In a recent e-mail message to AP executives, however, Boccardi said he would serve past his birthday, but he did not say for how long. He has been CEO and president since 1985.
Wolman, 51, was vice president and executive editor — the AP’s top news executive — since May 2000. He became managing editor in 1998 after 10 years as Washington bureau chief. His promotion, AP Vice President Kelly Smith Tunney, the news cooperative’s top spokeswoman, told E&P, “was not done to say, ‘This is the heir apparent.'”
Boccardi “has made absolutely no hints about retiring,” Tunney added. “Lou’s very much president of the AP and will be for some time.”
Boccardi, in his Feb. 8 e-mail message to bureau chiefs and other executives, said the AP board at its January meeting “asked that Jon be given some assignments outside of the news, and that is what we are doing.”
One member of AP’s 24-member board told E&P, “There’s been no decision about Lou, his replacement, or any of that.” However, the member said, “I think we have a responsibility to look down the road. But there’s no time frame.”
A new executive editor will soon be appointed, Boccardi said, and the news department will report to Wolman.