Gary Wortel to Succeed Wes Turner as Publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Wesley R. Turner, president and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas for the past 10 years, has announced his retirement at the end of the year.
The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) today named Gary Wortel, president and publisher of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as Turner's successor.
"I want to congratulate Wes on his retirement and a long and distinguished newspaper career that spans more than three decades," said Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive officer. "We're most grateful for Wes' leadership during the past year and a half of McClatchy ownership and thankful we have a dynamic and talented publisher in Gary to fill this important post."
Wortel, 51, became president of publisher of The Sun News in 2005. He came to Myrtle Beach from the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, where he was the vice president of advertising and marketing. Prior to that, from 1993 to 2001, he worked at The Tennessean in Nashville, first as display advertising manager and then advertising director. From 1978 to 1993, he worked for the San Jose Mercury News, holding a variety of marketing and sales executive positions.
Wortel was born in Ottawa, Canada, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a graduate of San Jose State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in public relations.
"Gary did a stellar job as publisher in Myrtle Beach, one of the fastest-growing, most attractive markets in the country," said Lynn Dickerson, McClatchy vice president, operations, who oversees 11 McClatchy newspapers in Texas and the South, including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Sun News. "Under Gary's leadership, The Sun News delivered excellent revenue and profit growth, circulation growth and editorial excellence over the past few years.
"Weekly Surge, an alternative newsweekly, was started last fall by Gary and his team, and they have been innovative leaders in online traffic and revenue growth," added Dickerson. "Gary is an excellent candidate to lead the Star-Telegram during these challenging times in our industry."
A search for Wortel's replacement at The Sun News is underway.
"I'm extremely excited to become the publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and follow the strong track record of leaders like Wes Turner and Amon Carter. They were extremely passionate about the newspaper and their commitment to the community," Wortel said. "Having spent most of my career in large metro markets, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that present themselves in growing newspaper and online audiences in the Fort Worth market."
In Myrtle Beach, Wortel was extensively involved in the community, serving on the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board as well as other local non-profit organizations.
Wortel and his wife, Patti, have four children: Erin, 25, Garrett, 21, Elise, 19 and Patrick, 8.
Turner, 57, grew up in Austin, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1973. That year he began his newspaper career at the Fort Worth Press. The newspaper closed in 1975 and Turner moved to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he rose through the ranks to become the vice president of advertising. In 1987, Turner moved to California as president of the PennySaver publications. In 1990, he became executive vice president and general manager of The Kansas City Star, where he served until his appointment as publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997.
"Being a newspaper publisher is one of the best jobs in the world and doing it in Fort Worth is even better," Turner said. "I have been surrounded by many of the greatest people here at the Star-Telegram and they are more than coworkers to me, they are family.
"With both daughters married and our first grandchild due in December, it just seemed the right time to step back and smell the roses," he said in explaining his retirement. "(Fort Worth Star-Telegram vice president of administration) David Ivory's premature death earlier this year has weighed heavily on my decision."
Turner said he and his wife, Shirley, plan to remain in Fort Worth, splitting time between the city and their beach house in San Clemente, Calif. Turner said he hopes to continue his association with several community organizations. He serves on the boards of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Performing Arts Fort Worth and the Longhorn Council-Boy Scouts of America Foundation. He is vice chairman of the Van Cliburn Foundation and campaign chairman for the United Way of Tarrant County, which has a $24.1 million fundraising goal for 2007.
The McClatchy Company is the third-largest newspaper company in the United States, with 31 daily newspapers, approximately 50 non-dailies and direct marketing and direct mail operations. McClatchy also operates leading local websites in each of its markets which complement its newspapers and extend its audience reach in each market. Together with its newspapers and direct marketing products, these operations make McClatchy the leading local media company in each of its premium high growth markets. McClatchy-owned newspapers include The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The (Raleigh) News & Observer.
McClatchy also has a portfolio of premium digital assets. Its leading local websites offer users information, comprehensive news, advertising, e-commerce and other services. The company owns and operates McClatchy Interactive, an interactive operation that provides websites with content, publishing tools and software development. McClatchy operates Real Cities (http://www.RealCities.com), the largest national advertising network of local news websites and owns 14.4% of CareerBuilder, the nation's largest online job site. McClatchy also owns 25.6% of Classified Ventures, a newspaper industry partnership that offers classified websites such as the nation's No. 2 online auto website, cars.com, and the No. 1 rental site, apartments.com. McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI.