Gannett promotes executives to head business-to-business, consumer marketing

The sign for Gannett headquarters in McLean, Va.

Gannett, the media company that owns USA TODAY and 109 local news properties, on Monday, announced organizational changes to strengthen its business-to-business and consumer marketing strategies. 

As part of that change, the company named two executives to head up those primary businesses.

Leading the consumer business will be Maribel Perez Wadsworth, who has been named president, USA TODAY NETWORK. She previously served as chief transformation officer.

Sharon Rowlands has been named president of USA TODAY NETWORK Marketing Solutions, overseeing the network’s media assets, along with its national and local brands. She is the CEO of ReachLocal, and continues in that role focusing on growing the online local marketing firm that Gannett acquired in 2016, and SweetIQ, a location-based marketing analytics and automation company it bought in April.

“These organizational changes will better position us to further enhance and expand our marketing solutions capabilities fueled by our audience growth and engagement,” said Robert Dickey, president and CEO of Gannett.

Kris Barton, 42, has been named chief product officer, USA TODAY NETWORK. He will lead the product organization developing and managing digital platforms and capabilities for the marketing solutions and consumer businesses. With more than 17 years of experience in digital product development, Barton joined Gannett in 2016 with its acquisition of ReachLocal where he was previously chief product officer.

Barton will report to Rowlands, and will also work closely with Wadsworth on consumer-product needs. 

Wadsworth’s role will include strategy and operations for the company’s award-winning portfolio of media brands such as USA TODAY, and its local news and niche content brands such as its sports social news hub For The Win (FTW) and Grateful, a collection of lifestyle sites that features content on beauty, style, fitness and parenting.

“I am so proud of the USA TODAY NETWORK, our diverse portfolio of brands and the impact of our team’s work. We are well-positioned to grow and thrive,” said Wadsworth.

In addition, Wadsworth, 44, will become associate publisher of USA TODAY as part of the transition associated with John Zidich’s previously announced retirement as president of domestic publishing. Gannett said on Nov. 2 that Zidich, 63, plans to retire April 3, 2018. He will…

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