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MediaNews Group: Former Comcast veep Mark Winkler exiting in major marketing shakeup

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Last week, Denver-based MediaNews Group, owner of the Denver Post and dozens of other newspapers around the country, officially emerged from bankruptcy -- and it didn't take long for boss Dean Singleton to make significant changes in the organization.

A source reveals that Mark Winkler, former division vice president and general manager at Comcast Spotlight, who joined the MediaNews team as executive vice president of sales and marketing in 2008, is leaving the company. Additionally, approximately fifteen others, many in executive marketing and sales positions, will either be exiting or moving to other positions, some at the Post.

A call to Post president and CEO Jerry Grilly, one of two execs to whom corporate multi-media sales, interactive national sales and marketing, and communication personnel will report, has not been returned at this writing. When and if it is, this blog will be updated.

However, Westword has obtained an internal memo from Singleton outlining the moves, which decentralize MediaNews' marketing in order to give more responsibility to regional divisions. He writes that while money will be saved, greater efficiency and innovation are the main goals. Read the memo below:

March 23, 2010

Dear Colleague:

As you may now, MediaNews Group several weeks ago began a review of our corporate advertising and marketing functions to assess priorities and speed to market of new sales and marketing initiatives.

We included all senior operating executives and selected publishers, as well as corporate staff, in this review. We used Kannon Consulting, Inc. to assist in this process.

We concluded that, while we're on the right track in how we go to market with new sales initiatives, we need to work closer with the field to speed up our processes in this ever-changing environment. More specifically, we agreed that corporate sales functions would be quicker and more efficient if more closely allied with an operating newspaper.

To facilitate thee ideas, I am announcing the following changes:

• Corporate multi-media sales, interactive national sales and marketing and communication will be consolidated at The Denver Post, reporting to Jerry Grilly and Kirk MacDonald.

• Research, sales training and targeted products will be re-assigned to their respective regional divisions to be more closely aligned with our individual newspapers.

• Corporate retail and national sales will stay at MediaNews corporate, reporting to Mike Petrak as is now the case.

To coordinate these functions as well as the other operating details between the corporate office and the field, I have promoted Sara Glines to the new position of Vice President of field operations, reporting to me. Sara moves to Denver from our East Coast division, where she assisted Tony Tierno in a similar capacity.

Mark Winkler, senior vice president of sales and marketing, will leave the company. Some of his staff will join the re-aligned Denver team, some others will be offered positions in the regional operations and some positions will be eliminated.

While there will be cost savings, that was not the primary motivation for this review. Our real goal is to be more efficient and speed up our time from innovation to dollars. Innovation comes from both corporate and the field, but dollars come from the local market. We believe the new structure will make us faster and more nimble, which is more important than ever.

Thank you for all your hard work as we re-invent our business.


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