Former Gannett CEO Al Neuharth Dies
April 22, 2013 at 5:12 AM (PT)
AL NEUHARTH, the former GANNETT Chairman/CEO credited with launching USA TODAY, died FRIDAY in COCOA BEACH, FL at 89.
NEUHARTH, who joined GANNETT in 1963 after serving as a reporter and editor at the MIAMI HERALD and Assistant Executive Editor at the DETROIT FREE PRESS, ran the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE in 1963-66 and then moved to GANNETT's FLORIDA operations, where he launched TODAY in COCOA BEACH (now FLORIDA TODAY), in design and format the inspiration for USA TODAY.
He was CEO of the newspaper and broadcasting giant from 1973 through 1989, adding the Chairman's role in 1979. Under NEUHARTH, the company aggressively expanded its newspaper holdings and made an unsuccessful bid to merge with CBS; the company also owned radio stations, including KIIS/LOS ANGELES, KKBQ/HOUSTON, and WGCI/CHICAGO, until exiting radio in 1997.
After his retirement, he continued to write a column for USA TODAY and founded the FREEDOM FORUM foundation, which operates the NEWSEUM in WASHINGTON.