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Dean Singleton to retire from Salt Lake Tribune owner MediaNews Group

Published November 5, 2013 8:22 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Newspaper magnate William Dean Singleton on Monday announced his retirement from an array of corporate duties, including serving as chairman of The Salt Lake Tribune board.

Singleton, 62, said he will remain as a part-time, nonexecutive chairman of The Denver Post but otherwise will relinquish all posts related to MediaNews Group Inc., the nation's second largest newspaper company, which he helped found in 1984.

''There are other things in life I want to do while I can still do them,'' he said in a telephone interview. ''I want to live a more balanced live. I've got a very full bucket list.''

The Texas native said he plans to spend more time at several ranching properties he owns — ''my second love after newspapers,'' Singleton said — as well as working on behalf of several nonprofits in Denver, his home for 26 years.

Mac Tully, president and chief executive of The Denver Post, will become its publisher, according to a news release from New York-based Digital First Media, which manages The Tribune and other newspapers for corporate owner MediaNews Group.

''Dean is a newspaper legend and you don't replace a legend,'' John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media and MediaNews Group, said in the news release. ``Our job now will be to build on the great company Dean has created.''

Singleton praised Paton and said his vision put the newspaper chain "at the forefront of transforming to a digital news company."

Announced in advance of MediaNews Group's annual meeting in December, Singleton's exit represents a further severing of his ties to Utah and The Tribune. Singleton, who sold his Salt Lake City home last year, made his initial business play in the state in 1986, when he bought the Park Record in Park City.

''I've had a long love affair with Utah and still do,'' he said. ''The Salt Lake Tribune has been an important part of my life for a long time.''

Singleton said he did not know who would replace him on The Tribune's board. Paton could not be reached for comment.

Though he has battled multiple sclerosis for nearly two decades, Singleton said the nerve-damaging disease has affected only his mobility and that he remains in good health. He said research into the disease is among the philanthropic causes he will pursue in retirement.

Singleton started as a part-time reporter at his hometown newspaper in Graham, Texas, at age 15, and bought his first paper at 21. Headquartered in Denver, MediaNews Group and related companies now publish 57 daily newspapers and more than 100 other publications in 11 states.

Singleton's co-founder at MediaNews, Richard B. Scudder, died in 2012 at age 99. Longtime business associate and friend Nancy Conway retired as Tribune editor on Sept. 30 as part of a layoff of nearly 20 newsroom and supporting employees.

The Tribune became part of MediaNews in 2000 after a protracted legal battle with the former majority owners, the McCarthey family.

Last month, Digital First announced a major revision of the joint operating agreement between The Tribune and its chief rival, the Mormon-church owned Deseret News.

In exchange for an undisclosed sum of cash, Digital First sold The Tribune's printing facilities to the News and revised a profit-sharing split to give the News 70 percent of the profits generated jointly by the two papers and The Tribune 30 percent. The deal replaced a 58 percent share The Tribune had received for nearly 60 years.

It also gave the News a three-to-two majority on the board of MediaOne of Utah, which oversees advertising, printing and distributions of the two newspapers.

tsemerad@sltrib.com