Former St. Petersburg Times publisher Marty Petty named CEO of Creative Loafing newspaper chain
Petty, who left a position as the Times' publisher and executive vice president last month, takes the job once held by Ben Eason, whose family founded the chain 30 years ago. Eason lost an auction for the company in August to Creative Loafing's largest creditor when the chain's crushing debt forced it into bankruptcy.
Since taking ownership, New York hedge fund Atalaya Capital Partners has aggressively moved to hire executives with extensive experience in mainstream newspapers for key positions, hiring former Chicago Tribune managing editor Jim Warren as publisher of Creative Loafing's Chicago Reader, drafting former Los Angeles Times editor Jim O'Shea for its board and hiring former Des Moines Register president Richard Gilbert as its initial, interim CEO.
Click here for a link to the story by Creative Loafing's Tampa newspaper on the hire, which they said was announced this morning in their new Ybor City offices.
Click below to read Creative Loafing's full press release:
Creative Loafing names new Chief Executive Officer
TAMPA, FL—A prominent Florida newspaper executive has been named chief executive officer of Creative Loafing, the alternative newsweekly group, its owner announced today.
Marty Petty, 56, is the former publisher of the St. Petersburg Times and the Hartford (CT) Courant. She will succeed Richard W. Gilbert who has been interim CEO since the reorganized company emerged from bankruptcy this fall under the new ownership of Atalaya Capital Management LP, a New York investment firm.
The news was shared with the Creative Loafing staff today through a memo. Creative Loafing (www.creativeloafing.com) publishes six alternative weekly newspapers and other websites, such as (www.straightdope.com) , in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Charlotte, NC, and Tampa and Sarasota, FL.
The announcement of Petty, who began her newspaper career in 1983 at the Kansas City Star and Times, marks the second significant appointment of a notable news veteran this month; having named James Warren, former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, to the publisher and president post at the Chicago Reader.
“I’m invigorated by the possibilities to deepen relationships with our readers and advertisers and expand our influence in our communities,” Petty said. “The coverage areas which have differentiated and distinguished the alternative press historically may be more important than ever.”
“This is an opportunity to lead a truly unique company in one of the most economically challenging times we have known. But these remain vibrant markets and it’s a wide open field as all media are challenged to redefine themselves to meet consumers changing lifestyles and information needs,” Petty said.
Gilbert described Petty’s expertise as “an unique mix seldom found in one publishing executive. She has solid journalistic values honed from her early career in the newsroom and her long-standing commitment to hard-hitting journalism. All three of her last papers earned Pulitzer Prizes during her leadership. As publisher of two of the nation’s most highly respected newspapers, she has also earned a reputation as a skilled and creative marketing and sales executive who knows how to build strategic alliances to ensure success. “
In addition to her CEO role, Petty joins the company’s board of directors. Gilbert, who has been at the helm of the business since Atalaya took ownership on August 25, will continue as a member of the board as well.
Creative Loafing is headquartered in Tampa, FL. It publishes six alternative newsweeklies: the Chicago Reader (www.chicagoreader.com) the City Paper in Washington DC www.washingtoncitypaper.com , Creative Loafing/Atlanta, Creative Loafing /Tampa, Creative Loafing/Charlotte and Creative Loafing/Sarasota (www.creativeloafing.com). Its national website presence also includes www.StraightDope.com. It has combined weekly print circulation of more than 400,000 copies and monthly online unique visitors in excess of 1.5 million.