MOLINE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marc Wilson, chief executive officer of TownNews.com, a subsidiary of Lee Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LEE), has been named executive chairman of the company. Brad Ward, who currently serves as chief operating officer, will become chief executive officer, the company announced today. The changes become effective Oct. 1, 2016.
“Under Marc’s leadership and guidance, TownNews.com has grown from a small, regional publishing technology provider to the leader in publishing technology across the United States,” said James Green, vice president-digital for Lee Enterprises. “As the digital age evolves, Marc’s experience as a journalist has helped TownNews.com transform news organizations, and we look forward to his continued leadership as executive chairman.”
Wilson and his wife, Virginia, will remain minority owners of the company.
Wilson founded the International Newspaper Network, which is now known as TownNews.com, in 1989 while editor and publisher of the weekly Bigfork Eagle in Montana. Before buying the Eagle, he was a reporter for three daily newspapers and worked for five bureaus of The Associated Press, including duties as assistant chief of bureau for Texas. Lee Enterprises became the controlling partner in 1996.
“TownNews.com has great products and services, wonderful and supportive customers and a tremendously dedicated staff,” Wilson said. “I am delighted to be succeeded as CEO by my great friend, Brad Ward, who has served many years as our brilliant chief technology officer. I look forward to working with Brad, the TownNews.com staff and our great customers. . Lee has been a great partner, and I’m grateful for its great support for many years.”
“I am excited and honored to continue Marc Wilson’s vision of helping media companies thrive in an ever changing digital landscape,” Ward said. “Marc has been a great mentor and friend. I’m looking forward to continuing working with him, our great partners and talented staff.”
Ward, who began his career with TownNews.com in 2000, was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2014. He was director of production and online systems for Lee Enterprises from 1997 to 2000.
“Brad has been an essential partner with Marc in scaling TownNews.com to the powerhouse it is today,” Green added. “We’re fortunate to have such a strong successor in our ranks.”
Ward is a former trustee, firefighter and EMT for the Sherrard Fire Protection District in Sherrard, Illinois. He is also formerly vice-president of the Sherrard School District board.
Lee Enterprises is a premier provider of local news, information and advertising in its markets, with 44 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others, rapidly growing digital products and nearly 300 specialty publications in 21 states. Lee markets include St. Louis, MO; Madison, WI; Billings, MT; Davenport, IA, and Tucson, AZ. Lee Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE. For more information about Lee, please visit lee.net.