Bob Cole, group publisher for Minnesota Sun Newspapers, is no longer with the company, staffers were told today. No explanation was given for the change, though I’m working on getting one.
The Sun papers, which cover several Twin Cities suburbs, are owned by American Community Newspapers; ACN just emerged from bankruptcy June 26.
Lenders assumed control of the chain after it was unable to pay the whopping debt racked up by still-CEO/President Gene Carr. Carr bet on affluent markets in the D.C. suburbs, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Columbus, Ohio, but leverage proved a killer as the housing crisis reversed fortunes, and the resulting economic collapse killed advertising.
Cole, who was marketing manager for 19 years at rival ECM Publishers, lasted a little more than a year in the Twin Cities hot seat. His tenure was marked by layoffs and consolidations; several ‘burbs lost stand-alone editions. Still, the chain’s troubles were manifest long before he arrived on the scene; the question now is, can a successor do any better?