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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Jeff Simpson, newly named publisher and president of the Deseret News, speaks to employees at the company's office in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Media executive Jeff Simpson was named president and publisher of the Deseret News Thursday.

The announcement was made to staff members at the company’s Salt Lake offices by Keith B. McMullin, chairman of the Deseret News Publishing Co. board of directors.

Simpson, a Deseret News board member and president of Deseret Book, is an experienced media executive whose career is founded on finding creative solutions to challenges facing media companies.

“Jeff’s record of proven, principled leadership has served our companies well for many years,” said McMullin, who is also president of Deseret Management Corp. “He now joins a skilled leadership team in furthering the bright future for the Deseret News as its strong local and national voice continues to grow.”

In a news release that accompanied the announcement, McMullin said Simpson’s appointment builds on the foundation laid by the naming of Deseret News editor and head content officer Doug Wilks in November, and head digital officer Burke Olsen in December.

Simpson began his career at Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Television. He then built Excel Entertainment Group, which became a successful independent media distributor that was later acquired by Deseret Book. Thereafter, he served as president and CEO of Bonneville International, which oversees KSL Broadcasting and other broadcast entities, the release said.

McMullin said Simpson will maintain his position as president of Deseret Book and will assume his new responsibilities immediately.

“I’m excited to join this team of professionals at the Deseret News,” Simpson said in the release. “In a crowded media landscape, we take seriously our role to be a valued news and information source and to be a watchdog, protecting the rights and interests of families and society based on principles of truth.”

Established in 1850, the Deseret News, part of Deseret Management Corp., is the oldest newspaper in the Mountain West and the oldest continuously operating business in Utah. Its print and digital content are distributed throughout Utah, the nation and beyond.