AMP's Thornton to Retire at End of 2005

By: E&P Staff Thomas N. Thornton will retire as president and CEO of Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) -- whose offerings include best-selling books by syndicated creators -- on Dec. 31 of this year.

He'll also step down as vice president of Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU), the parent of AMP and Universal Press Syndicate. Thornton will be succeeded in the president and CEO positions by AMP Vice President of Sales and Marketing Hugh T. Andrews, who'll also continue as executive vice president of AMU and a member of the company's board of directors.

AMP is known for its collections of comics -- such as "The Far Side," "Calvin and Hobbes," "Doonesbury," "Dilbert," "Cathy," "Ziggy," and many others. It has also published "Dear Abby" and Roger Ebert books, many titles not related to syndication, and calendars featuring comics and other properties such as "Harry Potter."

Thorton, who'll retire at 55 after a 33-year career with AMU, helped AMP grow from a tiny unit with less than $2 million in annual sales during the 1970s to a publishing company that now has annual sales well past $100 million.

He joined Universal Press Syndicate as assistant to the editor in 1972, and was named vice president in 1974 and director of marketing in 1976. Thornton became president and chief operating officer of AMP in 1987, and then CEO in 2003 when AMU Vice Chairman Kathleen W. Andrews retired from that post.

After he retires, Thornton will have an advisory/consulting role with the company and retain his seat on AMU's board of directors. He also plans to travel with his wife to locales such as New Zealand and do volunteer work in the Kansas City area.

Thornton's retirement was announced by John P. McMeel, chairman and president of AMU and the co-founder of Universal Press Syndicate in 1970.


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