Jim Moroney, hailed as a disciplined yet innovative leader in an industry transforming itself for the digital era, is retiring this month as chairman, president and CEO of The Dallas Morning News’ parent company A.H. Belo Corporation.
Dallas-based A.H. Belo announced that effective with the May meeting of it’s board of directors, Robert W. Decherd, a cousin and previous chairman, president and CEO of the company, will succeed Moroney, 61.
“When I became CEO in 2013, I told the board I would commit to four years,” Moroney said. “It’s now been almost five years and I asked Ty (Tyree Miller, lead director of A. H. Belo) to form a transition committee which worked diligently during the past year to design the organization we now have in place. I feel very good about where we are as a company.”
Moroney said that during that time since alerting the board to his retirement plans, he had wanted to hire a new editor and publisher, and play a role in hiring a new editor of the editorial board.
“All of that was accomplished by early March of this year and so now, closing in on five years, it’s time for me to look to other endeavors,” he said. “It has been the privilege of my professional life to serve as publisher of The Dallas Morning News.”
Moroney will continue as a corporate director and assume the title of publisher emeritus of The Dallas Morning News. He served as the newspaper’s publisher from 2001 until this March.
“The board is enormously grateful to Jim for leading the company through a period of unprecedented change in the newspaper and media industries,” Miller said in a statement. “His intense focus on A. H. Belo’s journalistic mission and his deft handling of the company’s business portfolio have put A. H. Belo in a position only a few U.S. newspaper companies can claim today.”
Decherd, 67, had served as chairman and CEO of A. H. Belo and its predecessor company, Belo Corp., from 1987 to 2013.
Moroney and Decherd are great-grandsons of George Bannerman Dealey, the first publisher of The News.
During Moroney’s tenure, The News won Pulitzer Prizes in 2004, 2006 and 2010. In 2004, Editor & Publisher named him publisher of the year.
Moroney began his career with Belo Corp. as a sales trainee at WFAA-TV in Dallas in 1978, and worked at the company’s broadcast and internet operations before becoming responsible for The News in 2001.
Moroney is regarded as an industry leader in the transformation of newspapers from a journalism and business model that relied on print to models that are digital-first with diverse revenue streams.
Reacting to news of Moroney’s resignation, Rosental C. Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, tweeted, “Indeed, Jim Moroney has been one of the greatest newspaper publishers in this country, during the most difficult times for the industry.”