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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   June 1999  issue

Leeward and Upward   

Times Mirror's Mary E. Junck heads to Lee Enterprises as excutive vice president. She'll become president of the media company in January.

By Bridget Gutierrez
Bridget Gutierrez is a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News.     

When Richard Gottlieb, president and CEO of Lee Enterprises, heard about Mary E. Junck's resignation from Times Mirror in early March, he couldn't believe his good fortune.
It just so happened two of Lee's top executives were nearing retirement and Gottlieb was in the market for new recruits.
"I said, `Oh my goodness.' Here's an associate, a friend, a respected leader in our industry who I had known for years.... She was on what I would call a list of really incredibly respected people that I thought were really the top executives in our industry."
Over a two-month period, Junck met with Gottlieb and members of the board and explored the possibility of moving from her home in Baltimore to Lee's headquarters in Davenport, Iowa.
On May 11, the deal was sealed: Junck, 51, will become Lee's executive vice president starting in midsummer. In January, she will move up to president of the company, as Gottlieb climbs the ladder to chairman. Lloyd Schermer, the current chairman, will retire.
Becoming president of Lee, a media company with 21 daily newspapers and 16 television stations in 20 states, will mark the pinnacle of Junck's 27-year career.
"My goal when I was starting out in this business was that I thought that it would be terrific to be a publisher of a metropolitan daily newspaper," says Junck, who was publisher of both the Baltimore Sun and the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the 1990s. "I would categorize [the corporate jobs] as great thrills and frosting on the cake."
The move also puts Junck closer to her childhood roots in Ogden, Iowa--a three-hour drive from Davenport--where her father and two brothers reside.
Junck left her position as executive vice president of Times Mirror and president of the company's eastern newspapers division, because, she says, she simply wasn't happy in her job anymore. She's certain she made the right decision. "I'm thrilled with this opportunity at Lee," she says.
For Gottlieb, Times Mirror's loss is his gain. "It became just an incredible fit for our company now and for the future," he says.
"If I had gone to a search firm and had put down what I was looking for...would I have found a better candidate? Certainly not."