Henry B. Haitz III has resigned as president and publisher of The State Media Co. to become president and publisher of Hearst’s Connecticut Media Group.
Haitz’s last day with The State will be Dec. 31. He has been publisher of The State since May 2006.
“It has been a privilege to serve as publisher of The State, South Carolina’s most influential news source,” Haitz, 49, said in a statement. “We find ourselves today with the most promising operating performance since the downturn and with an outstanding group of employees who are leading the way in this digital transition. I’m appreciative of their resilience in the face of uncertainty and their passion to protect and preserve our 1st Amendment rights.”
Mark Zieman, vice president of operations for The McClatchy Company, said a search has started for Haitz’s replacement. Kelly Edwards, vice president and chief financial officer, will lead The State in the interim.
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“We appreciate Henry’s many contributions to The State and McClatchy over the years and wish him all the best in his new role with Hearst,” Zieman said in a statement.
Sacramento, Calif.,-based McClatchy owns 30 newspapers, including The State and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, The Herald in Rock Hill, and The Island Packet in Hilton Head and the Beaufort Gazette.
Jack Osteen, president of the S.C. Press Association and publisher of The Item in Sumter, said Haitz has led The State through tough times for the entire industry.
“I know he’s had some challenges, and I think he’s done a good job of keeping things on the right track,” said Osteen, whose newspaper is printed by The State.
Seeking other newspapers – including The Item – to print was a smart move by Haitz, helping The State capitalize on its production facilities by becoming a regional printer, Osteen said.
Haitz also was involved heavily in several Midlands community organizations.
“He’ll be missed, certainly, from my perspective,” said Mac Bennett, president and chief executive of the United Way, where Haitz was on the board and chairman of the audit committee.
“He did a good job of engaging himself in the community. Hopefully, a new publisher will do the same,” Bennett said. “I really did feel like Henry was extraordinary in that sense.”
JoAnn Turnquist, president and chief executive of the Central Carolina Community Foundation, said Haitz’s departure will leave a void.
“Henry is a thoughtful and articulate leader. He has served on the board of the Community Foundation since 2008 and as chair of the Knight Foundation Advisory Board for the past three years. Under his leadership, both organizations have focused on engaging our community and investing in programs that have and will advance Columbia and the Midlands,” she said. “Henry has been a tremendous help to me and to our team at the foundation. His counsel, sense of humor and generous spirit will be missed.”
Before coming to The State, Haitz was publisher of the Bradenton Herald in Florida and, previously, publisher of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.
Hearst’s Connecticut Media Group publishes four daily newspapers: the Connecticut Post, The Advocate in Stamford, the Greenwich Time and The News-Times in Danbury. It also publishes seven weekly newspapers.
Haitz, who has a master’s of business administration degree from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University, starts his new position on Jan. 6 and will report to Hearst Newspapers President Mark Aldam, the company said in a statement.
Managing a group of newspapers and digital assets in multiple locations will be a new experience, Haitz said. “It’s a different kind of opportunity and challenge.”