The only person who served as CEO of Hearst Corporation longer than Frank Bennack was a fella by the name of William Randolph Hearst. That’s one hell of a tenure. But all good things must come to an end, and for Bennack, that day was this past Saturday. Beginning today, Steven Swartz is the new CEO of Hearst.
In a final note to Hearst staffers, Bennack expressed gratitude and hope for the future of the company:
Three decades of growth, diversification and unlimited excitement—I fondly hope that you share my enthusiasm and pride for what has been achieved. To those who joined me early in my tenure or preceded me, I extend deeply felt thanks for the opportunity to have stood beside you, or in the latter case to have stood on your shoulders. As for today’s associates at every level and in every line of business, I salute you for your remarkable achievements and dedication. Your work is not done and I have every confidence that the best is yet to come for you and for Hearst.
Swartz has been with Hearst for over 20 years and has been a lock to succeed Bennack for awhile, so we’d be surprised to see any major changes. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on. Hearst is a big a player as it gets, and it’s got a new driver behind the wheel. It’ll be fun seeing which direction Swartz takes.
Below is the full goodbye memo from Bennack.
My Hearst colleagues and valued dear friends around the world:Last Saturday, June 1, Steve Swartz officially succeeded me as chief executive officer of Hearst. I know you join me in my high expectations for his resounding success as the leader of the company that has provided not only our livelihoods but a ringside seat for the greatest media revolution in memory.Steve steps to center stage with my full support and that of our Board of Directors and Hearst general management. He is, in my opinion, fully prepared to embrace the responsibilities and opportunities that come with our highest management role. He has gained invaluable experience in both the creative and business aspects of Hearst’s extensive portfolio of products and services. Perhaps of even greater importance, he is a person of high integrity and unwavering commitment.As I complete my 28 years at the helm, I write today to acknowledge and express profound gratitude to the thousands of my associates who have contributed to all that has been achieved over the years since I first assumed the position of president and chief executive officer in 1979. To have had the high privilege to serve Hearst in this capacity for one extended term would have exceeded my highest aspirations; to have done so in two separate tenures has been a rare opportunity and leaves me truly humbled.Still, as I look in the rearview mirror I don’t see my successes, but yours.Three decades of growth, diversification and unlimited excitement—I fondly hope that you share my enthusiasm and pride for what has been achieved. To those who joined me early in my tenure or preceded me, I extend deeply felt thanks for the opportunity to have stood beside you, or in the latter case to have stood on your shoulders. As for today’s associates at every level and in every line of business, I salute you for your remarkable achievements and dedication. Your work is not done and I have every confidence that the best is yet to come for you and for Hearst.My good fortune is enhanced further by the opportunity to remain engaged in Hearst in the days ahead in the capacity of executive vice chairman. That means I’ll be around, encouraging and assisting Steve and you in any way that I can. But the company’s future course is now in his hands and yours.Ours is a unique business culture forged by multiple generations of senior managers, creative talents, directors and trustees, importantly including many of the founder’s descendants, the members of the Hearst family. It is a culture of genuinely caring about the well being of employees, advertisers, business partners and the communities and audiences we serve. It is a culture that moves us always to seek to do the right and responsible thing. That culture has been a key ingredient in our success and remains indispensable, in my view, to future successes. Guard it vigilantly.You have been the greatest colleagues a chief executive could hope for and I will be eternally grateful. The highest compliment you can pay me now is to perform your jobs at an even higher level of excellence than ever before.God bless you and those you love,Frank A. Bennack, Jr.Executive Vice ChairmanHearst Corporation