New honcho Pruitt will mine global markets
- Last Updated: 3:56 AM, March 23, 2012
- Posted: 11:32 PM, March 22, 2012
Gary Pruitt, the CEO of McClatchy Newspapers, the nation’s third-largest newspaper chain, is not expected to be a dramatic change agent when he takes over the top spot at the Associated Press in July. But he is expected to push for a bigger international customer base and for new revenue.
“The name of the game will be driving revenue,” said Pruitt, which will come as something of a relief to a company that was jolted by a 10-percent cut in payroll in 2009 — this at a company once famous for virtual lifetime employment.
“The challenge is finding new customers, and there are new customers out there,” said Pruitt.
The company, which is technically a not-for-profit cooperative owned by newspapers, is still expected to be in the red when Pruitt takes over, although the losses appear to be ebbing compared to 2010. In that year, the AP posted an operating loss of $34.3 million and racked up its second year of declining revenues when sales dropped 7 percent, to $631 million.
While the 2011 results haven’t been released yet, spokesman Paul Colford said, “Overall, we expect modest top-line growth over the next several years, with much of that coming from our news video and digital businesses.”
Pruitt takes over from longtime CEO Tom Curley, who is retiring. He will relocate from Sacramento, where McClatchy is based, to AP headquarters on Manhattan’s West Side.
“Certainly, the company owns its own set of life-and-death challenges,” said Ken Doctor, author of the book, “Newsonomics.”
“Pruitt is up for the challenges,” said Doctor. “He knows the turf and should be able to manage the board.”
“Expect no big changes, but incremental ones, in technology and sales,” said Doctor.
Currently, about 60 percent of AP’s revenue comes from the US. “In the next five years, I’d expect the majority of the revenue to come from overseas,” Pruitt said.
Condé Nast may have cut the number of tables it bought at the digital Ellies of the National Magazine Awards to three from five, but it put more corporate heavy hitters into the Grand Hyatt than any of its rivals.
While Hearst President David Carey and Time Inc. President and CEO Laura Lang were absent, the Condé Nasties were out in force. Its contingent included octogenarian Chairman S.I. Newhouse, Jr., who ducked out before the event ended, with Editorial Director Tom Wallace, CEO Chuck Townsend, President Bob Sauerberg and the new human resources director Joanne Murray, who replaced longtime human resources director Jill Bright earlier this year.