At WEHCO, papers' chief, Jeffus, retiring; Georgian to fill spot

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Jeff Jeffus, president of WEHCO Media's newspaper division, has announced his retirement. Mark Lane, corporate vice president of sales with Morris Communications in Augusta, Ga., will replace Jeffus, 69.

"Mark is a proven leader with years of experience building effective teams and growing advertising customers," said Nat Lea, president and chief executive officer of WEHCO Media, which owns the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Lane was primarily responsible for revenue generation for 13 markets for Morris, Lea said.

"My goal is to take a lot of great work that has already been accomplished and maybe ratchet it up a notch or two," said Lane, 55.

For a business to be successful, it comes down to leadership and people, Lane said.

"We have to make sure that we have quality products that serve our readers," Lane said. "If we don't do that, nothing else matters."

WEHCO also announced the promotion of Conan Gallaty to president of WEHCO Digital Services. Gallaty previously was executive vice president of the digital division.

Jeffus, whose retirement will be effective July 5, has been in the newspaper business for 49 years.

"The changes in our industry have been immense in technology and [with] the impact of social and digital media," Jeffus said.

Jeffus began his career in 1968 in the advertising sales department at a newspaper in Paris, Texas, his hometown. He has been publisher of papers in Stuttgart; Greensburg, Ind.; Greenville, Texas; and Port Arthur, Texas. In 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president for American Publisher Co.

Later that year, he became publisher and regional manager of the Northwest Arkansas Times. In 2008, he was named president of Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.

Jeffus has served as president of WEHCO Media's newspaper division, which includes about 30 publications in six states, since 2013.

"I have been fortunate over my career to have worked for some great companies," Jeffus said. "I have seen many different philosophies and cultures between family ownership, public and private companies. Probably my closest friends are colleagues I've worked with over that long period of time."

The highlight of his career, Jeffus said, has been watching managers he hired grow in the profession.

WEHCO, Jeffus, Lane, Lea

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