Steven Swartz is one step closer to the CEO position of Hearst Corp. Today, Hearst announced that Swartz, 50, was adding the title of president to his current role of COO.
Hearst CEO Frank A. Bennack Jr. has reportedly been grooming Swartz as his heir. Bennack, 79, has been the company’s CEO since 1979 (he briefly retired from 2002 to 2008) and is likely looking at another retirement in the not-so-distant future.
“We have a very bright and able chief operating officer,” Bennack told The Financial Times in September. “Specific dates and movements to succession haven’t been set or announced, but it’s clear that they’re not far into the future and that I’m working very hard with him.”
Swartz joined Hearst in 2001 as evp of the newspaper division, later rising to president. Last year, he was promoted to COO of Hearst Corp. (His predecessor, Victor Ganzi, had unexpectedly stepped down as CEO and COO in 2008, leading Bennack to come out of retirement to take over both posts.)
Swartz also holds positions as a Hearst Corp. director, a trustee of the 13-member Hearst Family Trust, and a director of two Hearst Foundations. As CEO, he would add oversight of Hearst's myriad other properties, from the magazine division to TV stations to Web platforms.