Written by The Business Journal Staff
Ken Riddick, top executive at The Modesto Bee, will replace Tom Cullinan as president and publisher of The Fresno Bee and two other McClatchy newspapers in the region.
Riddick, who will also oversee The Tribune in San Luis Obispo and Merced-Sun Star, will assume his new role Nov. 6. Cullinan, who has served in the role since 2012, is retiring effective Nov. 3, McClatchy reported in a new release.
“Ken has demonstrated great digital leadership at The Modesto Bee, as evidenced by digital-only growth of 44 percent over two years,” said Gary Wortel, McClatchy’s west regional publisher, in a statement. “Modesto has been one of the company’s leaders in audience growth as well, and he recently completed the Bee’s move to a new location that beautifully reflects the future workspace of a digital media company.”
With more than 30 years of newspaper experience — and an expertise in digital media — Riddick began his career with McClatchy in 1995 as pictures editor with The Fresno Bee. He was promoted to Fresno’s managing editor for new media and director of interactive media in 1999. He continued his career in and out of the McClatchy organization, finally returning in 2010 as the vice president of digital for The Charlotte Observer, then becoming president and publisher of The Modesto Bee in 2014.
“I am truly excited and humbled to be headed back to Fresno,” stated Riddick. “The chance to return and contribute to the digital future of these three media companies is a dream-come-true.”
Riddick returns to The Fresno Bee during a pivotal time for the newspaper, which celebrated its 95th anniversary earlier this month. Cullinan announced his retirement in August, Executive Editor Jim Boren announced his retirement this week after a 48-year career with the paper, and officials previously discussed their intentions to relocate from the paper’s 1626 E St. home in Downtown Fresno, where it has been located since the early 1980s.
Cullinan, Riddick’s predecessor, added in a statement: “Ken is the perfect choice at the right time. He’ll continue our mission to be a digital driven media company and to serve the community with quality public service journalism.”
Riddick, a native of Texas who holds a journalism degree from the University of Texas, and his wife Catherine plan to move back to the Fresno area.