The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Star Tribune Media Company — which owns the Star Tribune, the fourth-largest daily circulation print newspaper in the U.S. — named Target’s Stephanie Ness to take its finance reins and Chris Iles, who most recently worked for the Minnesota Twins baseball team, to become its vice president of brand and communications, effective Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 respectively.
Ness began her career in investment banking at Piper Jaffray and had a short stint working as an investment banking analyst at KPMG, according to her LinkedIn profile. Over the past 13 years she has held a range of finance positions at the Minneapolis-based retail giant, most recently as Target’s chief of staff and serving as head of Financial Planning & Analysis.
The appointments come as Steve Grove, the company’s new CEO and Publisher, has initiated sweeping organizational changes since arriving in April to take on challenges — which have also broadly disrupted the newspaper industry in recent years — tied to the rise of digital news and social media including declining print revenue and slowing digital subscription growth, according to an Aug. 15 Star Tribune report.
A native Minnesotan, Ness, in a LinkedIn post Thursday, wrote she was “thrilled” to have taken the CFO role.
“The newspaper has been a part of my life since I was a kid. My parents emphasized the importance of staying informed and handed my the ‘Strib,’” she posted. “This guidance has proven valuable, and now I have the opportunity to actively contribute to shaping its future.”
Bringing two seasoned leaders, Ness and Iles, into the company, is a “win” for the Star Tribune and the state, Grove said in a statement included in the announcement.
“Stephanie brings extraordinary leadership and management skills to our team, along with a sharp analytical mind that will help us reimagine our structure and investments to better serve Minnesotans. Chris brings over a decade of leadership experience in brand, communications and innovation — which will serve us well as we transform the Star Tribune to better serve our audience,” Grove said in the statement.
The two will be joining a company that has already seen the impacts of the restructuring ripple across both its business and editorial departments.
On the business side, the company signaled a new CFO was in the offing back in August when it announced that its finance chief Chuck Brown, a 25-year company veteran, was retiring but would stay on until his successor was hired. In addition, two other senior executives left the firm, including Chief Digital Officer Jim Bernard and Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Circulation Steve Yaeger, according to the release.
In editorial, the company named Maria Reeve, most recently with the Houston Chronicle, to become managing editor for daily news while others took on new roles. For instance, Kyndell Harkness, assistant managing editor of diversity and community, was named head of culture and community. The paper also eliminated its editorial cartoonist position, according to an Oct. 2 Star Tribune report.