Gannett CEO Dubow resigns; Martore named successor

ByABC News
October 7, 2011, 12:54 PM

— -- Craig Dubow resigned on Thursday as chairman and chief executive officer of Gannett, publisher of USA TODAY and owner of a network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties.

Dubow, 56, stepped down after 30 years at the company, including six as CEO, due to health conditions, Gannett said in a release. As CEO, Dubow has taken two leaves of absence for medical issues, most recently last month.

The board named Gracia Martore, the media company's president and chief operating officer, to succeed Dubow as CEO. Martore, a 26-year veteran at Gannett, acted as the principal executive during Dubow's recent absence. Marjorie Magner, a member of Gannett's board, was named non-executive chairman.

Navigating the company through the challenging digital transition of the media business was Dubow's legacy, says Michael Kupinski, analyst at Noble Financial.

Under Dubow, the company worked to increase its digital business, which is now nearly 21% of revenue, Gannett says.

"I am extremely proud of where we are today as a company," Dubow said in a statement.

Additionally, under Dubow, Gannett has led the industry in reducing costs, Kupinski says.

"Gannett has been one of the companies that have been more aggressive in cutting its costs to right-size the business than many other companies in its industry," he says.

Dubow's first job with Gannett in 1981 was in ad sales at its Denver TV station, KUSA.

Prior to being CEO, Dubow served as head of Gannett's broadcasting unit from 2001 to 2005.

Since he took the helm on July 15, 2005, shares of Gannett's stock have fallen 85%.

Investors hope Martore can extend Dubow's push to pursue opportunities in digital media, says Joscelyn MacKay, analyst at Morningstar.

Martore also brings a financial background, as she was Gannett's chief financial officer from January 2003 through November 2010, says Douglas Arthur, analyst at Evercore.

Magner is managing partner of Brysam Global Partners, a private investment company that targets financial services.

Investors don't expect Martore to make dramatic changes to the strategy put in place by Dubow, since she was instrumental in creating it, Arthur says.

"She has been with Craig, as he tried to reshape the company, every step of the way."