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Deseret Management Corporation announces the retirement of CEO Mark Willes, appoints Keith B. McMullin

Published: Thursday, April 5 2012 6:31 p.m. MDT

"He has an expertise and passion for both building our local community and at the same time expanding the reach of humanitarian efforts around the world," said Christopher Lee, executive vice president and publisher of the Deseret News. "DMC has the very same objectives of strong coverage of our community while reaching out beyond our borders."

DMC has promoted an objective of developing and maintaining "trusted voices of light and knowledge," which McMullin said will apply to both its regional audience surrounding Utah and to a global marketplace.

"That's not simply an idle statement or a slogan. That is bedrock in terms of where we're going," McMullin said. "These entities have been a resource, a trusted voice, in this region of the world."

Tanya Vea, KSL's executive vice president of cross-platform development, said: "We are lucky beyond measure to have had Mark Willes here and I will forever be grateful for the things I learned from him. I am excited to build on the legacy Mark leaves at KSL and the Deseret News and look forward to working with Keith McMullin."

She said, "He has a wonderful reputation and, as a longtime DMC board member, Keith understands our businesses well. We have a great future ahead of us in these companies and are fortunate to have owners who care about our communities and the quality of our work as much as they do."

The resource shift into the digital media environment has also created an opportunity for interactivity while vastly extending the companies' audience.

For journalists producing news content that continues to be delivered in new ways, he sees their work as "capturing truth, insight and perspective that bless people's lives and enhance their liberties."

The interactive nature of electronic media also gives readers an ability to offer instant feedback. "We can be more open and responsive to those needs" and channel journalistic resources for the greater benefit of readers, he said.

McMullin said getting better acquainted with the people he works with is the first thing on his to-do list. "I have learned over the years that problems and solutions have come through the door every day on two feet." He said the staff members "not only see the problems but they have the solutions."

His second priority is making sure additional innovations "launch with confidence, because we have done our homework."

One change he is getting used to is the transition from being known as "Bishop McMullin."

"I like 'Keith,'" he said when asked how the staff should address him.

Willes came to DMC from retirement and said Thursday's change allows him to go back. His extensive leadership history includes his work as president and vice chairman of the board of directors of General Mills. He spent 15 years as CEO of Times Mirror Company, where he also served as publisher of the Los Angeles Times during most of that time.

"We've made a lot of changes. Thank heavens our people have been so supportive and encouraging," he said of his time at the helm of DMC. "That's just going to have to continue."

Willes said the personnel cuts over the past few years have been his biggest challenge. "It's also hard on those who stay because they see their friends leave, and they see the challenges. In many respects that's the biggest challenge because it's the people that stay that you're counting on to continue to make these changes and continue to innovate and continue to be creative."

Read the news release to learn more about Mark Willes, Keith B. McMullin and the changes at DMC.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

Twitter: SteveFidel

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