In an expansion of digital leadership, Davenport-based Lee Enterprises Inc. announced it has called on top digital executive and longtime board member Gregory Schermer to focus exclusively on strategic opportunities for its 51 daily newspapers and digital media in 23 states.
Mary Junck, Lee chairman and chief executive officer, said Schermer will move from vice president of interactive media to a new position of vice president of strategy.
“With the exponential growth of digital opportunities, we look to Greg as our chief horizon-watching expert,” she said. “His leadership has made Lee an industry standout in digital initiatives, and this new position will allow him to devote his full efforts toward identifying new and better ways to serve our audiences, advertisers and communities.”
Among his responsibilities, she said, will be actively developing strategic partnerships and seeking other opportunities that will help Lee drive revenue and build digital audiences, as well as continuing to represent Lee in significant collaborations that benefit the industry.
She said the remainder of Schermer’s current responsibilities will be assigned to another new position — vice president of digital development and operations, which will report to her.
“We believe this intensified focus on both the future and the present will keep Lee at the forefront in harnessing digital opportunities,” she said. “We expect to fill the new position quickly. Until then, Greg will continue to oversee both strategy and development.”
Schermer, 58, joined Lee in 1989 and has led Lee’s digital expansion since 1998. He also served as corporate counsel from 1989 to 2006. He became a member of the Lee board of directors in 1999.
Before joining Lee, he was a partner at the law firm of Hanson, O’Brien, Birney and Butler in Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts and a juris doctorate degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., in 1980.
Among his many industry contributions, he helped found The Newspaper Consortium, a group of 30 companies that represent nearly 800 newspapers, helping advertisers reach local audiences. He serves on the NAA Digital Advisory Committee. He also serves on the board of Lee’s digital subsidiary, Townnews.com, an online service provider to more than 1,500 community and weekly newspapers.
In the Quad-Cities, his community activities include chairman of the RCPA Board, which is the owner of the Adler Theatre, and a board and executive committee member of the Quad-Cities Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m delighted to focus my efforts to assist our board, management team and enterprises to identify new products, partnerships and digital services, and new ways of delivering them,” Schermer said. “As the pace of digital technology change continues to accelerate, so do the opportunities and pressures to innovate. It’s an exciting time for our industry.”
Lee Enterprises is the parent company of 47 daily newspapers, including the Quad-City Times, and has a joint interest in four other dailies.