USA TODAY owner Gannett restructures into two business units

usa today boss gannett and local media organizations in 45 states, on Wednesday announced a corporate restructuring that created two new business units.

The Gannett Media business unit will focus on operations such as news, content, print and distribution, B2B marketing solutions (including advertising), and subscription growth through a “digital-first lens,” Gannett said in a press release. Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of Gannett News and publisher of USA TODAY and USA TODAY Network, has been named president of the division.

Another division created after the reorganization is Digital Marketing Solutions (DMS), which helps brands and businesses attract and retain customers, including digital marketing services provider LOCALiQ. Gannett’s chief product officer, Kris Barton, becomes president of the new division and will oversee operations that support marketing solutions, including customer service and product and engineering.

“I think it’s a huge leap forward to have our organizational structure really help drive the execution of our strategy,” Barton said. “We’re a subscription-led business. That means we’re being organized in this way to focus on that strategy.”

Two other Gannett executives, chief revenue officer Kevin Gentzel and U.S. publishing president Bernie Szachara, will leave the company in the coming weeks. Reed sent a note to employees praising their service and acknowledging their “extraordinary management during their tenure.”

Gannett shares closed down 0.5% at $3.91 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

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Gannett Chairman and CEO Michael Reed said the restructuring will improve operational efficiency and accelerate Gannett’s future as a subscription-led business.

“This restructuring ensures that our consumer and B2B businesses are strategically optimized for our next phase of growth, with experienced leadership, while supporting our culture of inclusion and driving us towards sustainable revenue and cash flow long-term goals for growth,” Reed posted.

Wadsworth is a graduate of the University of Miami and has been with Gannett for over 25 years. She started her career as a reporter for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. In 2015, she was named Gannett’s first Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer.

Wadsworth is a board member of the Associated Press and online learning community Skillshare, president of the News Media Alliance, and president of the International News Media Association.

“It is both an honor and a responsibility to lead Gannett Media as we build a strong future,” Wadsworth said in the release. “My focus is to strengthen our journalism — It’s our mission and to dramatically diversify our content portfolio for growth – our promise as a dynamic next-generation media company.”

Since being named Chief Product Officer in 2017, Barton has led product development for Gannett’s consumer and marketing products. Before joining Gannett, he led a global team as ReachLocal’s Chief Product Officer, overseeing product and technology. The BYU graduate also served as chief operating officer at multimedia software company Nero and held various leadership positions at Microsoft.

“It’s more important now than ever that local businesses are at the heart of the identity and economy of our communities around the world,” said Barton. “As consumers’ demands continue to increase, we will ensure that we continue to provide services that help drive their business. Touchpoints and solutions for development.”