Jane Seagrave Exiting The AP For Martha’s Vineyard Paper

Associated Press Chief Revenue Officer Jane Seagrave is stepping down from her post and leaving the news wire to become publisher of the Vineyard Gazette, which is based in Martha’s Vineyard, the paper announced.

Seagrave’s responsibilities will be divided among other executives on the AP Management Committee — at least for now.
As part of the new roles the management team will be taking on, Jim Kennedy, VP of director of strategy, will lead AP’s digital products initiative, while CFO Ken Dale will develop a new pricing and contracts administration group. Dale will also work with CIO Lorraine Cichowski on the e-Business development project.

Seagrave has spent three decades in the news business, on both the editorial and business sides. She was named SVP and CRO of the AP in January 2010. She’ll start her new job early next month. “I think the AP is in excellent hands; I am not leaving the AP, I am moving to something that is extraordinarily personal,” Seagraves said in a statement.

While the Vineyard Gazette may sound like much lighter fare than the AP, the search committee tapped to find a publisher was full of heavy media hitters, including Alex Jones, former reporter for the NYT and current director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School; Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large of PublicAffairs Books, and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post; and Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and dean emeritus of USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

The memo to AP staff from CEO Tom Curley (Sent Thursday, before Vineyard’s announcement):

I want to let you know about important changes in our management lineup. Jane Seagrave, chief revenue officer, will be leaving AP later this month to take an enviable position that she can’t tell you about yet but will be announced very soon. Jane has been a true advocate for AP, from her early days as a reporter in Grants Pass, Oregon, to her role as head of sales and revenue. Her elegant thinking has helped steer us through very choppy waters as media business models change and evolve. We will miss her, and we wish her the best.

As we continue to work through the five initiatives we have identified this year as key to our business transformation, members of the AP Management Committee will take on some new roles. The initiatives, which we will be talking about more in the coming weeks, are: the digital transformation of AP’s video business; the News Licensing Group that will serve as a clearinghouse for digital licensing for the newspaper industry; keeping our market leadership in State News; developing an e-Business platform as the way for AP products to go to market; and, new content approaches for the digital/mobile world.

As we moved forward on these, Jim Kennedy will lead our digital products initiative, Ken Dale will develop a new pricing and contracts administration group and Lorraine Cichowski will take over customer support. Ken and Lorraine will lead the e-Business development initiative. Daisy Veerasingham will continue her fine work leading the video business transformation, which is already well underway, and Sue Cross will continue leading the State News program. Sri Kasi will continue to work on the News Licensing Group. We will also restructure U.S. marketing services, which will answer to Ellen Hale.

The top initiatives share important common themes and taken together constitute a transformational plan to meet customer demand for flexible delivery of high quality content that meets their needs. This is where the future of AP lies. I hope all of you are as excited as the Management Committee and I are that we are focused on this mission. I appreciate all that Jane Seagrave has brought to this strategy, and I’m sure you wish her the best also.

Tom Curley