After 23 years with Gannett and six years as your president and publisher, I will be retiring on April 17, 2009.
I am thankful to have been afforded the opportunity to represent one of the strongest and most recognizable national brands in the USA and to have worked with some of the smartest, most engaged and passionate folks in the industry. I will carry forward a multitude of memories and life experiences I would not have otherwise benefited from without my association with you and the incredible USA TODAY brand.
Certainly the timing of my retirement coincides with industry challenges. The changing media environment and the recession are creating new opportunities. I am bullish on possibilities to adjust the business models and adapt new mindsets which could lead to the industry becoming a growth business once again.
Please remember, USA TODAY the brand and all of you in the short term will be challenged… but in the long term – you will come out on top. The brand is actually bigger than the business and that’s good. USA TODAY history plays to innovation – just look at the success of the new iPhone application. Because you are flexible, willing to take risks, understand new technology and are not stuck in the past…you are better than the competition.
Today’s business environment will require frequent operational adjustments. Opportunities have been created. Regardless of how good new ideas may be, many will not work. While some of the results are being affected by systemic media changes, much is recession related which should recover and the brand will build back into a growth model as long as you continue to move ahead during the recession.
I’d like to leave you with some important foundational points…
The brand’s success is built on the consumer’s preference and the relevant value you create,
Business travelers find value in your work,
The business is about content regardless of the platform or delivery mechanism,
USATODAY.com audience is growing and leads in the Mobile arena,
Foundations for new businesses in licensing hotel products,
eReaders and a host of new partnership opportunities are available for the brand to capitalize on.
It has been my pleasure to work with each and every one of you. I will miss the collaborating efforts of this extraordinary USA TODAY team.
All the best,
Craig A. Moon