McClatchy Operations VP Frank Whittaker to Retire

Mar 30, 2011, 15:40 ET from The McClatchy Company

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Frank Whittaker, vice president for operations at The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and a 26-year company executive, has announced his retirement on May 27.

One of two vice presidents for operations, Whittaker oversees 16 McClatchy daily newspapers and their related businesses in California, Florida, Kentucky and the Carolinas. He is a member of McClatchy's senior management team, and a search is under way for his successor.

"We will all miss Frank's talent, leadership and experience, which have served this company so very well for such a long time," said Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive officer. "Frank has a deep understanding of all the varied and complex newspaper operations – from strategy to sales, production to distribution. His knowledge has been instrumental in helping McClatchy grow from a small, family-owned newspaper company into the nation's third-largest newspaper publisher with an expanding digital business.

"Frank has been an important part of the executive team helping to chart McClatchy's future," Pruitt said. "He's been an exceptional executive and a valuable colleague. He is very much deserving of a long, fulfilling and productive retirement. I thank him and wish him all the best."

Whittaker, 61, joined McClatchy in 1985 as general manager of The Sacramento Bee, the company's flagship newspaper. From 1990 to 1997, he served as both president and general manager, the newspaper's top business executive who oversaw a major plant expansion, consistent circulation growth and executed a number of nationally recognized innovations. During his tenure at The Sacramento Bee, the newspaper was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes.

Whittaker was promoted to vice president, operations at McClatchy in 1997. In this role, he fostered regional collaboration among McClatchy's newspapers and greater efficiency through the sharing of resources and combining of business functions.

"McClatchy has given me every opportunity one could ever hope for in a career and it's difficult to say goodbye," Whittaker said. "But I've worked in the newspaper business for close to 40 years. I'm ready to spend more time with my wife and family and I'm excited about new adventures ahead.

"It still amazes me that C.K. McClatchy hired a 35-year-old greenhorn to manage The Sacramento Bee. I'm deeply appreciative of everything I learned from him and his two successors, Erwin Potts and Gary Pruitt. It's been my great privilege to work for three such extraordinary CEOs. While much has changed since 1985, I am proud that McClatchy's core values have remained constant: serving its communities and furthering a functioning democracy.

"McClatchy's reputation has always allowed us to attract the best employees in the business," Whittaker said. "It's been an honor to have served with them and I look forward to seeing the company achieve new successes in their capable hands."

Whittaker was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and raised in Canada. Before joining The Sacramento Bee, he held a variety of management positions with The Toronto Star, where he began his newspaper career in 1973 as an assistant circulation manager.

He moved his way up to circulation director, marketing director and the newspaper's first director of strategic planning – a role that gave him an opportunity to work with every newspaper department and gain insight into how the newspaper functioned as a whole. He brought those skills and perspective to The Sacramento Bee in 1985.

Over his career, Whittaker has been deeply involved in both the newspaper industry and the community.

He is a past president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, past chairman of the Readership Committee of the Newspaper Association of America and past treasurer and board member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. He is a past board member of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, the Graduate School of Business at the University of California, Davis, Jesuit High School and many other nonprofits. He has chaired several capital campaigns for organizations including hospitals and children's homes. He currently serves on the board of the Oregon-based Umpqua Bank.

For his civic work, he has received major awards from organizations including The Salvation Army, The Anti-Defamation League, Multiple Sclerosis and the National Philanthropy Association.

About McClatchy

The McClatchy Company is the third largest newspaper company in the United States, publishing 30 daily newspapers, 43 non-dailies, and direct marketing and direct mail operations. McClatchy also operates leading local websites in each of its markets which extend its audience reach. The websites offer users comprehensive news and information, advertising, e-commerce and other services. Together with its newspapers and direct marketing products, these interactive 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 News & Observer (Raleigh).

McClatchy also owns a portfolio of premium digital assets, including 15% of CareerBuilder, the nation's largest online job site, 25.6% of Classified Ventures, a newspaper industry partnership that offers two of the nation's premier classified websites: the auto website and the rental site and 33.3% of HomeFinder, which operates the real estate website McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI.

SOURCE The McClatchy Company