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Deseret News announces new leadership appointments

SALT LAKE CITY — The Deseret News on Wednesday announced new appointments in its ongoing transformation to digital publication, while maintaining and improving the strength of its print newspaper.

“The future of the Deseret News brand lies in taking the next step forward in a successful transformation from what are essentially two separate organizational entities into one with a digital-first orientation,” Keith B. McMullin, president and CEO of Deseret Management Corp., said in a meeting with staff.

“Much will be done to bring this about, and it will take place in steps building on the foundation now in place,” he said.

The foundation includes Deseret News Publishing Co. and Deseret Digital Media. Some staff and operations for both companies will be refocused under a single Deseret News brand and leadership team.

McMullin said corporate leadership of that team will be under the direction of Kirby Brown, chief financial officer of Deseret Management Corp. and CEO of Beneficial Life Insurance Co.; and Sheri Dew, executive vice president of Deseret Management Corp. and CEO of Deseret Book Co. They are leading the search for a Deseret News publisher.

Doug Wilks, named editor of the Deseret News in November, adds head content officer to his title with responsibility for transforming the content of the Deseret News from print to a digital-first orientation.

Burke Olsen, general manager of deseretnews.com, was named head digital officer with responsibility for directing its digital enterprises. Olsen will work hand-in-hand with Wilks on content and the direction of the Deseret News, McMullin said.

Mike Todd, chief financial officer for the Deseret News, adds associate publisher to his title and duties.

“We confirm the strong commitment of the owner of the Deseret News to its brand and to its long-term success. Bringing these two important divisions together will strengthen the impact of the Deseret News to local, national and international audiences,” McMullin said.

The Deseret News was established in 1850 and is the oldest newspaper in the Mountain West and the oldest continuously operating business in Utah. Deseret Digital Media was founded in 2009 and has an expanding global reach with online news sites, consumer services, social media channels and other digital products.