Egon Zehnder Recruits CEO for Gannett Co.

September 5, 2019 – Egon Zehnder has recruited Paul Bascobert as the new president and CEO of Gannett Co. Robert Dickey recently informed its board of directors of his retirement.

“On behalf of the board, I am pleased to welcome Paul to Gannett at this important time for our company and industry,” said J. Jeffry Louis, chairman of the Gannett board of directors. “We are confident that his dynamic skill-set and significant industry experience make him ideally suited to lead this company forward. Paul is a proven leader with a clear strategic vision and established record of successfully pivoting companies toward a marketplace model and driving financial and operational performance for multiple marketing solutions companies and well-established media brands.”

“We look forward to benefiting from Paul’s experience and insights as we work together to extend Gannett’s leadership as a trusted marketing services partner to businesses, while delivering critical, trusted news to communities nationwide,” he said.

Mr. Bascobert has more than two decades of management experience across media, marketing and technology. He most recently served as president of XO Group, where he was instrumental in the company’s transformation from a media business to a two-sided marketplace model. Previously, he served as president of local businesses at Yodle, a local internet marketing and advertising solutions provider for small businesses. Prior to that, he held leadership roles at multiple media companies, including Bloomberg LP, where he served as chief operating officer of Bloomberg Media Group and president of Bloomberg Businessweek, and Dow Jones & Co., where he served as chief marketing officer across its consumer products, including the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch.

Challenging Position

Mr. Bascobert will try to balance funding the company’s new digital growth along with its traditional print business. The journalism industry continues to experience declining print circulation and advertising revenue. According to USA Today, close to half of the company’s advertising revenue comes from print and will continue to fund the company’s digital transformation.

“I am excited to join Gannett at such a pivotal time,” said Mr. Bascobert. “Gannett has a strong portfolio of brands, including the iconic USA TODAY, focused on delivering journalistic excellence and best-in-class digital marketing services. I look forward to working closely with the Gannett board and management team, as well as our talented employees, to continue to drive digital growth, maintain our commitment to serving local communities and enhance value for our shareholders.”

Related: Poor Succession Planning Leading to High CEO Turnover

Gannett is a digitally-focused media and marketing solutions company. Its brands include USA Today, Gannett Publishing Services,,, nearly 120 U.S. newspapers and digital news sites and Newsquest Media Group out of the U.K. Gannett’s various outlets reach 125 million people monthly.

Selecting the Right CEO

For boards, the task of selecting a new CEO is fraught with risk and uncertainty. It is no longer a matter of simply choosing a successor based on past performance or current readiness, said Egon Zehnder unrelated to this search. The decision is a complex study in forecasting the future, assessing possibilities and mitigating risk, it said.

As CEO Turnover Rises, Outsiders Are Given a Closer Look
Last year, 17 percent of the largest 2,500 public companies in the world changed their CEO, more than in any of the previous 16 years of the “CEO Success Study” from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business.

Egon Zehnder’s global CEO practice works closely with boards to identify, develop and appoint CEOs who can meet the challenges and define the opportunities organizations face, both today and down the road, said the firm. Over the last five years, the search outfit has led more than 1,000 CEO placements, making it one of the leaders in C-suite recruitment. The firm’s CEO practice is comprised of 100 senior consultants from across the globe, with cross-sector expertise that includes business and industry, government and the non-profit sectors.

Top Global Search

Egon Zehnder retained its status as the No. 3 ranked global search firm according to Hunt Scanlon Media this past spring – edging out Heidrick & Struggles and Russell Reynolds Associates. Since 1964, the firm has been at the forefront of defining top leadership in the face of changing economic conditions as well as major transitions in the executive search field.

With more than 400 consultants in 69 offices and 41 countries around the globe, Egon Zehnder works with public and private corporations, family-owned enterprises and non-profit and government agencies to provide board advisory services, CEO and leadership succession planning, executive search and assessment, and leadership development solutions.

Related: Companies Remain Unprepared to Fill CEO Vacancies

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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