NEW YORK — Hearst Corp. chief executive and president Frank A. Bennack Jr. will retire at the end of next May. Chief operating officer Victor F. Ganzi, 54, was tapped to replace him.
Bennack, 68, has been with Hearst for more than 40 years, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the corporation, and vice president and general manager of the Hearst Newspaper Group, before taking over as chief executive in January 1979.
The company announced the change Wednesday.
Bennack said he was confident he had picked a successor who “will take the company to greater heights.”
“While deciding on a personal change of this magnitude leaves me with decidedly mixed emotions after 23 years as a chief executive, I could not be more enthusiastic about the future prospects for the company under Vic Ganzi’s leadership,” Bennack said.
Since Bennack took over, Hearst has increased revenues sevenfold, acquiring 10 newspapers — including the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle — two trade publishing companies and five television stations, among other properties. Bennack was also instrumental in launching Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., one of the nation’s largest non-network owned television station groups of which Hearst is a majority shareholder.
Bennack will remain active with the company, assuming the positions of chairman of the executive committee and vice chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Bennack, a native of San Antonio, serves a director on the board of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., American Home Products Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
Ganzi joined Hearst in 1990 as general counsel and vice president and has also served as chief financial and legal officer. Prior to Hearst, Ganzi was the managing partner at Rogers & Wells — now Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells — one of the world’s largest law firms.
The privately held Hearst, which employs about 20,000 people in 100 countries, owns 12 daily newspapers and also has interests in television, cable and radio.
Its large magazine division publishes titles such as Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.
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