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Petty to leave as publisher of the St. Petersburg Times

ST. PETERSBURG — Marty Petty, publisher of the St. Petersburg Times and executive vice president of Times Publishing Co., will leave the company after nine years of running business operations, she and editor, CEO and chairman Paul Tash announced Wednesday.

In letters to the staff, both executives characterized her departure as a streamlining move.

"One of Marty's accomplishments is the team of strong leaders on the business side of the company, and they are ready to pick up more responsibilities," Tash wrote. "While all the details are not yet clear, we will develop a new leadership structure around them."

"My departure comes down to a business decision," Petty wrote. "Times Publishing is a smaller company today," she wrote. "The size of our management team at all levels needs to reflect that reality."

In the face of declining advertising, the newspaper's full-time staff has dropped by about one-third since its 2003 peak.

Publishers are the top business executives at most American newspapers and often outrank the editor on the corporate ladder, reflecting the institution's profit-making orientation.

At the Times, however, the editor has headed the board of directors for decades. The position of publisher has sometimes remained vacant for years at a time, while top advertising, circulation and production executives ran their individual departments.

Petty, 56, earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri and worked her way up through the news side of the Kansas City Star and Times and the Hartford Courant before shifting to business operations.

She was publisher of the Courant before coming to the Times in 2000.

Petty said she will miss the Times tremendously, but "I couldn't be more proud of where we are."

"This is a terrific market, and the good days will return. I am counting on everybody to press on with our good work."

She will leave the Times after a few weeks of transition.

Petty to leave as publisher of the St. Petersburg Times 08/19/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:02pm]
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