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Deseret News announces new president and leadership changes

Robin Ritch, president and publisher of the Deseret News Publishing Co., is photographed at the Deseret News’ offices in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Robin Ritch, president and publisher of the Deseret News Publishing Co., is photographed at the Deseret News’ offices in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The Deseret Management Corp. announced leadership changes at the Deseret News Wednesday, further enhancing its strong media role in Utah and the Intermountain West, as well as its continued expansion as a national source for in-depth news and commentary.

Robin Ritch was named president in a companywide announcement by Keith McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp. Ritch succeeds Jeff Simpson, who will be leaving in June to serve a three-year ecclesiastical assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Robin is a transformational leader,” McMullin said in a news release. “She has a strong ability to think strategically and also the ability to operationalize at a very high level. We are fortunate to have her in this role.”

Keith B. McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp., right, announces that Robin Ritch will become president and publisher of Deseret News Publishing Company at the Conference Center Little Theater in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Keith B. McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp., right, announces that Robin Ritch will become president and publisher of Deseret News Publishing Company at the Conference Center Little Theater in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Ritch brings a wealth of executive experience in technology and innovation to the Deseret News, having worked in business and product leadership positions at Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Tenfold.

“She has served on a number of advisory boards for startups, social good businesses and was a partner with Social Venture Partners,” according to the release.

Ritch has most recently served as senior vice president of operations at the Deseret News, She and Simpson worked closely during the past six months, guiding the leadership team through a critical period in the organization’s history. The team launched a new weekly newspaper and a national magazine, and enhanced its digital footprint to a readership of more than 10 million a month earlier this year.

“Jeff’s leadership at Deseret News has been critical in a time of great change,” McMullin said. “We have known about his new assignment for some months, and that has given us time to plan a smooth transition. We are grateful to have a leader like Robin on the team who can step in without missing a beat.”

Keith B. McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp., announces that Robin Ritch will become president and publisher of Deseret News Publishing Co. during a meeting at the Conference Center Little Theater in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Keith B. McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp., announces that Robin Ritch will become president and publisher of Deseret News Publishing Company during a meeting at the Conference Center Little Theater in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In addition, McMullin announced that Deseret News Editor Doug Wilks has been named executive editor of the Deseret News. Hal Boyd, previously with the Deseret News, returns in a new role as executive editor of Deseret National. In addition, Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News, will take on additional responsibilities as assistant editor of the Deseret News.

According to the press release:

Deseret News readership has doubled over the past two years, reaching 10 million readers last month on its owned platforms, with more than 75% of those outside of Utah, and millions more on other platforms such as Apple News and Microsoft News. Deseret magazine, launched in 2021, has an initial circulation of 50,000.

Deseret News was founded in 1850 at the edge of the American frontier by pioneers with the motto, “Liberty & Truth.” Today, it is Utah’s oldest continuously operating business. It is part of a portfolio of media entities at the Deseret Management Corp., which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret News retains and reaffirms its commitment to being a standard-bearer of journalistic integrity and principled reporting. Deseret News aims to elevate understanding, challenge assumptions and illuminate context from our long-standing heritage of faith, family and the fundamental values that build strong societies.