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Ibargüen Leaving The Herald…Elected President And CEO

Ibargüen Leaving The Herald

Herald Publisher Alberto Ibargüen is resigning his post in July to become president of the Knight Foundation in Miami.


29 January 2005
Copyright © 2005
MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

Ibargüen, a lawyer and longtime newspaper business executive, is the first publisher of Hispanic origin in The Herald's history. PHOTO: ROBERTO KOLTUN / HERALD FILE

Alberto Ibargüen, chairman of The Miami Herald Publishing Co. and publisher of The Herald and El Nuevo Herald, announced Friday that he is stepping down in July to take over the presidency of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

''For me, it was the culmination of a professional dream to lead these newspapers, but time marches on,'' he told stunned employees at the company's annual meeting.

``I have long cherished the thought that I would head a foundation. On Wednesday, I was offered the position of president of the Knight Foundation. It's a challenge I have decided to accept.''

Ibargüen, 60, will replace retiring Hodding Carter III, the former State Department spokesman during President Jimmy Carter's administration who has headed the Miami-based charity since 1998. The foundation annually grants more than $90 million to journalism initiatives and to programs in 26 U.S. communities.

Ibargüen has been publisher of The Herald since 1998 and of El Nuevo Herald since late 1995.

He is widely credited with turning El Nuevo Herald into one of the nation's most respected Spanish-language newspapers and with boosting The Herald's financial performance, in part by creating new products such as in-flight magazines and tourist guides, and instilling more of a marketing focus to the business.


And he's leaving on a high note: The Herald led Knight Ridder papers in total profit in 2004, and El Nuevo Herald and The Herald ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the newspaper company's annual reader satisfaction survey.

He also gained respect as a staunch advocate of public-service journalism and press freedom. During his tenure, The Herald won three Pulitzer Prizes and El Nuevo Herald won numerous awards, including Spain's Ortega y Gasset Prize for best newspaper in the Spanish language.

In 2004, he was awarded Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize for his work to protect journalists in the Americas.

Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler described Ibargüen's departure as ``bittersweet.''

''I can't help but be happy for Alberto, this is a fulfillment of a dream for him, but at the same time I can't help but feel the sadness around this,'' Fiedler said. ``His values are so staunchly aligned with the best values in the newsroom. He has been such a mentor to me in the last several years.''


Outside The Herald, Ibargüen has been instrumental in shoring up the newspaper's relations and profile in South Florida and further afield in his many leadership roles in business and the arts.

''Alberto has been a breath of fresh air for this community,'' said Adolfo Henriques, president of Regions Bank. ``He has the unique ability to bridge the cultural divides that are unique to Miami.''

Among his many civic duties, Ibargüen is chairman of Public Broadcasting System, a trustee of the University of Miami and a director of the Inter-American Press Association.

Ibargüen's stewardship has particularly been an asset for Hispanics, said El Nuevo Herald Editor Humberto Castelló.

His decision to turn El Nuevo from a Herald insert into its own newspaper, for instance, reverberated far beyond 1 Herald Plaza.

''It was a great contribution to the city and the citizenry,'' Castelló said. ``People felt honored that they merited their own newspaper. It united the community as Hispanics.''

But Ibargüen could not conquer the weakness of newspapers across the country: long-term circulation declines. And not all of his projects were successful.


Two weekly startup newspapers proved money losers: the Jewish Star Times and Street, which both folded. He also closed The Herald's Sunday magazine, Tropic, to save money.

Knight Ridder Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Ridder, who addressed employees at the annual meeting, lauded Ibargüen as ``one of the truly great publishers in the American newspaper business.''

Ibargüen's resignation did not come as a complete surprise, Ridder said, as Ibargüen had warned him he would like to make a final career change before retirement.

''I was dreading the day I would get that call,'' Ridder said. Ridder credited Ibargüen with turning around the company.

''Seven and a half years ago, the spirit of MHPC left something to be improved upon,'' he said. ``Relations with the community, particularly the Hispanic community, left something to be desired. Even though we had a good management team, there was clearly room for improvement.''

Today, ``the journalism has improved; I think it's fair to say there's no better management team in Knight Ridder than we have here in Miami, morale is as good as it's ever been. Alberto is a truly outstanding leader.''


Hilary Schneider, Ibargüen's immediate supervisor and Knight Ridder's senior vice president for newspapers, said Ibargüen's passion and commitment made the difference.

Schneider said she plans to have Ibargüen's successor in place by the time he leaves. His replacement will probably be drawn from The Herald's ranks, she added.

''I'm confident we have a candidate within the organization,'' she said.

Resigning was clearly emotional for Ibargüen. His eyes welling with tears, he choked up as he told employees, ``I will always appreciate from the bottom of my heart the countless ways in which you have been so good to me.''

But he characteristically quickly recovered with a joke: ``I even took an Advil so I wouldn't crack up.''

Ibargüen later told the newsroom staff that he had been expecting to stay at The Herald for a couple more years, but Carter's retirement came sooner than expected. ''This has been a fantastic opportunity to do good, to do things important to the community and to the industry,'' he said of The Herald. ``But the opportunity [at the Knight Foundation] was irresistible.''

Miami Herald Publisher to Resign in July


28 January 2005
Copyright © 2005
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

MIAMI (AP) -- Alberto Ibarguen, publisher of The Miami Herald, announced Friday that he is leaving in July to become president and chief executive of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The foundation, established in 1950, is dedicated to promoting community service, higher standards of journalism and a free press. Ibarguen will succeed Hodding Carter III.

Ibarguen became the Herald's first Hispanic publisher in 1998. He had been publisher of the Spanish-language sister paper El Nuevo Herald since 1995.

Before joining the Herald, he was executive vice president for operations of Newsday and New York Newsday. The Puerto Rico native grew up in the New York area.

Ibarguen also is chairman of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Ibargüen was born in Puerto Rico, one of five children of a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father. He was 8 when his father, a marketing executive for a pharmaceutical company who eventually became president of a Revlon subsidiary, moved the family to the New York metro area.

Ibargüen graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he was editor of the school newspaper, then joined the Peace Corps for five years, partly as an alternative to military service during the Vietnam war.

He made the best of it: A framed cover of the Peace Corps magazine in his office shows Ibargüen, in peasant hat, examining some plant fibers just handed to him by a worker halfway up a tree.

It was law school at Penn after that, then legal aid work before going into private practice in Hartford. His full-time legal career was not to last.

He was recruited 19 years ago to work as an executive at his hometownpaper, the Hartford Courant, later becoming executive vice president at its sister Times-Mirror paper, Newsday on Long Island.

There he helped give birth, and later bury, a new paper - New York Newsday, which rapidly garnered its share of journalistic prizes but bled money until it was shut down by a new cost-cutting Times-Mirror chief executive.

After arguing fruitlessly to save it, Ibargüen said, it fell to him to tell the newspaper's Long Island staff of its demise.

''I will never do that again,'' he said. ''If we had made tougher business and personnel decisions early on, we would have been in a better position to keep the newspaper going. But we didn't. And that was a real lesson for me.''

Alberto Ibargüen Elected President and CEO

Of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

28 January 2005
Copyright © 2005
. All rights reserved.

MIAMI, FLA. — Alberto Ibargüen has been elected by the trustees of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to succeed Hodding Carter III as president and chief executive officer.

Ibargüen is publisher and chairman of The Miami Herald, which won three Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure, and publisher of El Nuevo Herald. He has been a newspaper executive since 1984, first at The Hartford Courant, then at Newsday in New York before joining Knight Ridder in 1995. He is chairman of the board of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He is a director of the Inter American Press Association and leads its efforts in the protection of journalists at risk in the hemisphere – a project fueled by significant Knight funding.

At Knight, Ibargüen will be at the helm of one of the nation’s largest private independent foundations. With assets of $1.9 billion, the foundation makes grants of more than $90 million annually to promote excellence in journalism worldwide and invest in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers operated newspapers. Ibargüen is a member and past chair of Knight’s Miami-Dade/Broward Community Advisory Committee.

"Alberto Ibargüen is a recognized leader with interests that are a perfect match with those of the foundation," said W. Gerald Austen, M.D., chairman of Knight Foundation’s board of trustees. "Hodding Carter helped us plan a smooth transition by telling our board more than a year ago that he would like to retire after eight years here. He has given Knight Foundation, the community of journalism and the field of philanthropy visionary and superb leadership. He has been a gifted communicator about the power and promise of philanthropy and the need to help the neediest of the needy among us.

"It is heartening that after an extensive national search we have found in Alberto Ibargüen a successor who not only is eminently qualified but who already has an extensive relationship with the foundation," Dr. Austen said.

As Herald publisher since 1998, Ibargüen has led a business revival that has made the newspaper among the most successful in the industry. In addition, he serves as a director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; a trustee of the University of Miami; a member of the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art; the Council on Foreign Relations; and on the boards of overseers of the journalism school at Columbia University and the law school of the University of Pennsylvania. He is past chairman of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and has served on the boards of Wesleyan University, Smith College, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the New York Community Trust.

He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Between college and law school, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela and as program officer for the Peace Corps in Colombia.

Carter, an award-winning journalist and commentator, became Knight’s president and CEO on Feb. 1, 1998. During his tenure the foundation’s assets increased from $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion and its annual grants payments went from $42 million to more than $90 million.

Under Carter, Knight heightened the impact of its grant making by increasing funding to the foundation’s signature journalism program as well as expanding its commitment to the 26 Knight communities.

While at Knight, Carter has displayed high-profile leadership in his efforts to communicate the value of philanthropy, marked by his inclusion for the last three years in The NonProfit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 list. He helped retool the National Community Development Initiative into Living Cities, an urban development consortium of foundations, private financial institutions and the Department of Housing and Urban Development working in 23 U.S. cities. He is a founding partner of the Florida Philanthropic Network, a coalition of Florida’s leading grant-makers seeking to advance philanthropy in the state.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Knight Foundation, named for its founders, is a private foundation completely independent from Knight Ridder.

Download images of Ibargüen and Carter by following this link:


Contact:  Larry Meyer, Vice President of Communications and Secretary, 305-908-2610

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