Times Free Press president resigns; new president named

Times Free Press president resigns; new president named

May 19th, 2017 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Jeff DeLoach, who has been serving as publisher of two Texas newspapers, was named the new president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in May 2017. He replaced Bruce Hartmann.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

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Bruce Hartmann is leaving his post as president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press to take a job with the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

He will be succeeded by Jeff DeLoach, a 56-year-old native of Jackson, Tenn., who has been serving as publisher of two Texas newspapers.

The announcement was made Friday by Nat W. Lea IV, president and chief executive officer of WEHCO Media Inc., which owns the Times Free Press.

Hartmann, 60, will be vice president of community and government relations at the UT Medical Center. He came to the Times Free Press in 2014 after 25 years with E.W. Scripps. During that time, he was publisher of the Knoxville News-Sentinel for 14 years. His most recent role with Scripps before the move to Chattanooga was as chief revenue officer and vice president of sales and marketing.

Hartmann and his wife Tami will return to Knoxville for his new position, which starts in July.

DeLoach, who will head operations of the Chattanooga Publishing Co., as well as its online, newspaper and magazine operations in Chattanooga, has served as publisher of the Standard-Times newspaper in San Angelo, Texas, since 2009. In 2014, he also was named publisher of the Abilene Reporter-News. In those roles, he split his time between the two markets.

DeLoach began his newspaper career working in the mail room of the Jackson Sun in West Tennessee and later served as president of the Southern Circulation Managers Association.

"I feel like I'm coming home and bringing my family home," DeLoach said after being introduced to the newspaper staff on Friday. "As our industry has evolved, the philosophy and foundation of WEHCO Media to deliver quality journalism, and to give attention to serving the local community, remains the same and I admire that."

DeLoach was named the winner of the Pat Taggart Award for Newspaper Leader of the Year by the Texas Daily Newspaper Association in 2011 when the San Angelo Standard-Times also won the Editorial Achievement Award.

"A lot of my time is going to be spent on making sure that we are financially healthy, but if we do not have quality content, then we do not have an audience and we do not have a business," DeLoach said. "It all starts in the newsroom and the quality of the product we deliver every day."

DeLoach, who has worked for more than three decades in the newspaper industry, served four years as vice president of circulation at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. During his last year there, he also had responsibility for advertising sales.

From 1996 to 2005 he worked in the circulation department at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Prior to that, he worked at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and at the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

DeLoach earned a bachelor's degree in business from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He and his wife, Laurette, have been married 26 years and have three grown children.

DeLoach was recommended for the job by Hartmann, who previously supervised DeLoach at Scripps. Hartmann said leaving the Times Free Press "was not an easy decision, but this is a great opportunity" to head community and legislative relations for the UT Medical Center in Knoxville, where he continues to have a home.

Hartmann replaces John Sheridan, who is retiring after nearly 17 years with the medical center and more than four decades of government and community relations and fundraising experience in Tennessee.

"Bruce brings the perfect blend of leadership, relationship building, business knowledge, integrity and compassion that's needed during this critical time of change in the healthcare industry and at the medical center," said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "Through his role in the publishing industry throughout the years, Bruce has a reputation of competence, integrity and fairness, and has a great relationship with our team."

In his new role, Hartmann will lead all legislative activities on behalf of the medical center in the state Legislature and in the U.S. Congress, and will be a liaison to local, state and federal lawmakers and their staff members.

"I am honored to join the team at the University of Tennessee Medical Center," Hartmann said. "As the region's only academic medical center, I know how important the work done here is to our community and all of East Tennessee."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfree press.com or 757-423-6340.