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Publisher resigns to take Florida job

July 05, 2006|By Ryan Carter

BURBANK ? Will Fleet, publisher of the Burbank Leader and four other Times Community News papers, announced Tuesday that he will be leaving to take a position as publisher and president of The Bradenton Herald on the gulf coast of Florida.

"This is a bittersweet time for me," Fleet said. "I really enjoy being in the GlendaleBurbankFoothill communities and I think the world of [Los Angeles Times publisher] Jeff Johnson, [Times Community News General Manager] Tom Johnson and the Tribune Company."

Fleet, 48, will oversee a staff of about 250 at the Bradenton Herald, which covers Manatee County and has a daily circulation of 44,000, and 53,000 on Sundays. The announcement of Fleet as publisher of the Herald comes one day after the McClatchy Co.'s shareholders approved the purchase of Knight-Ridder, which owned the Herald.

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He will start at his new post July 19.

Fleet took the helm of the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader in 2004.

Since then he brought back the Foothill Leader paper and orchestrated the purchase of the La CaƱada Valley Sun and La Crescenta Valley Sun.

"The tough part of business is losing good people, but I'm obviously happy for Will because it's a great opportunity for him professionally," Times Community News General Manager Tom Johnson said. "Under Will's leadership the News-Press has made significant strides in improving the product on all fronts and reconnecting the brand with the community."

Fleet came to Times Community News on a mission to improve the papers' performance, he said.

"I was brought in No. 1 to turn around the operation financially, and two, to build the operation through acquisition and expansion, and I feel in just a over two years, we've made a lot of strides in that direction," Fleet said, adding how grateful he was to a staff that endured what he called "difficult but positive changes."

The papers made great strides under Fleet's leadership, Managing Editor Danette Goulet said.

"Since I came aboard, I have watched these papers grow and flourish under his leadership," Goulet said.

"He threw himself into the community and the papers with all he had."

Fleet also got involved in the community, becoming president of the Glendale Scholarship Endowment, which provides financial aid to local students who have overcome obstacles in life to go to college.

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