Gannett's president and CEO Gracia Martore today announced that she is bringing on Larry Kramer, founder of MarketWatch.com and former president of CBS Digital Media, to become president and publisher of USA Today.
The move is an interesting one for a company known for hiring internal candidates.
Kramer founded CBS MarketWatch.com in 1997 where it survived the Internet bubble and was sold to Dow Jones in 2005 for a boat load of money ($530 million, to be exact). He then became president of CBS Digital Media until 2007.
He recently penned a piece that appeared on his own C-Scape blog which talked about news apps on the iPad, including the USA Today app (text unaltered):
Finally the USA Today Ipad App is also very clean. The good and the bad news about the USA Today app is that it is a close cousin to the look of the paper. While it captures some of the design feature of the paper, some have become tired. The site loses a sense of urgency and news judgement by stacking stories with essentially the same look and feel as each other. The larger layouts in the print version of the paper are often the most attractive devices in the newspaper, and they are not translated to this platform. Photos dominate the visuals, and the reader gets little interactive or even passive, graphic presentation that approaches what is so great about the print paper. The page looks the same every day. USAToday’s IPhone app is slicker and faster to use.The choice is certainly an interesting one. Kramer has never held a publisher's position, though if he brings on the right team members this may not be important since he clearly will be working to transform the media brand.
Kramer is a far more positive advocate of both digital media overall, and the iPad, in particular. This may prove to be an interesting choice.
In an earlier announcement today, Gannett announced that senior vice president and chief financial officer Paul Saleh resigned to join Computer Sciences, also as CFO. Saleh had joined Gannett in November of 2010 as CFO as Gracia Martore, the previous CFO, had been promoted to president.
The move is to a bigger and more profitable company (and one outside of media, of course).