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Bruce Hartmann speaks after being announced as the new president of the Chattanooga Publishing Co. during a staff meeting in the Chattanooga Times Free Press newsroom on Thursday.

Chattanooga Publishing Co. announced the hiring of a new president, Bruce Hartmann, on Thursday.

Hartmann comes to Chattanooga from Knoxville, where he was chief revenue officer and vice president of sales and marketing for the E.W. Scripps Co.'s publishing division, working with newspapers from California to Florida. Before that he spent more than 20 years at the Knoxville News Sentinel, beginning as advertising director and rising to the position of president and publisher.

Hartmann will lead the company, which publishes the Times Free Press. He said he and his wife, Tami, look forward to living in the Scenic City.

"I've always been jealous of the resources you all have put forth in making this just a premier property," Hartmann said of the Times Free Press. "I think there's a lot of chance for us to make it even better than it is now."

Hartmann earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University in 1979. He serves on the board of directors for South College and has worked with Friends of the Smokies, Leadership Knoxville, the Bijou Theatre, Variety, the Knoxville Chamber, the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation board and the UT Graduate School of Medicine Board of Visitors. He and his wife have three children.

During an address to Chattanooga Publishing Company staff, Hartmann acknowledged that the position won't be without challenges. The Times Free Press, like nearly all newspapers in the industry, has seen falling revenues for the past several years.

Hartmann said he doesn't plan to roll out any major changes. Instead, he said, he'll listen to employees who know the market and readership well already.

"I'm really excited about being here," he said. "It's going to be a great experience and a great time to grow this paper."

Hartmann succeeds Jason Taylor, who left in July and is now president and publisher of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., and regional president of Gannett Co. Inc.'s U.S. Community Publishing East Group.

Leaders of WEHCO Media, which owns the Times Free Press, said they received a higher-than-expected number of applications for the Chattanooga position.

"I think it was a really attractive job opportunity," said Walter Hussman Jr., CEO of WEHCO Media.

Hussman said Hartmann was an ideal candidate, especially because he comes from Tennessee.

"We look forward to his leadership," Jeff Jeffus, WEHCO Newspapers president, said. "I think he's uniquely qualified for the challenges the newspaper industry faces, and we certainly welcome him to our table."

Contact staff writer Claire Wiseman at 423-757-6347 or cwiseman@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on twitter @clairelwiseman.

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