GateHouse Media's New England division has tapped a former top executive at one of its biggest rivals to be its new chief operating officer. Rick Daniels, a former president and general manager of The Boston Globe, started meeting with GateHouse managers on Friday and will begin his job on a full-time basis on July 16. He will report to Kirk Davis, the CEO of GateHouse Media New England.
GateHouse Media's New England division has tapped a former top executive at one of its biggest rivals to be its new chief operating officer.
Rick Daniels, a former president and general manager of The Boston Globe, started meeting with GateHouse managers on Friday and will begin his job on a full-time basis on July 16. He will report to Kirk Davis, the CEO of GateHouse Media New England.
Daniels joins at a time when GateHouse has been growing steadily in the region. The company first entered New England a year ago with its acquisition of two media companies that included The Patriot Ledger, The Enterprise and the Community Newspaper Co. group of papers. Fairport, N.Y.-based GateHouse has since acquired dailies in Taunton, Fall River, Norwich, Conn., and several weeklies in the region.
Davis said Daniels, a 50-year-old Hingham resident, will provide valuable management experience and knowledge of the local market as the company looks to strengthen the coordination among its nine dailies and more than 100 weeklies in New England and expand its multi-media products on the Internet.
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Rick for a few years," Davis said.
"We've developed a good professional rapport. It was in that setting that I realized that we share many common beliefs about what needs to be happening in the media. ... He has a great style about him, a great perspective on the business."
Daniels replaces Greg Rush, the former chief operating officer for GateHouse Media New England who left the company earlier this month. Daniels will work out of GateHouse New England's headquarters in Needham.
Daniels worked at the Globe or for a Globe affiliate since 1983, when he joined the paper after three years at a major consulting firm. He steadily rose to a top executive level where he helped oversee several expansion projects for the paper while it was under its previous owners, Affiliated Publications, and its current parent, The New York Times Co.
During his time with the Globe, Daniels helped the paper launch the boston.com Web site, enter the direct mail business, invest in the company that owns the Boston Red Sox and a majority stake of New England Sports Network, and buy a minority stake in the Boston Metro.
Davis said Daniels' experience in those ventures will be invaluable for helping GateHouse develop new ways to grow revenue.
"He'll be helpful in strengthening the foundation of the company so we can grow more effectively and capitalize on new opportunities," Davis said. "He's a big thinker and he'll see directions that we can go in that will provide new avenues for growth."
Daniels was president and general manager of the Globe from early 2001 to January 2006. At that time, he became president of Boston Globe Media, which includes the local media investments that are affiliated with the Globe.
Daniels left that job in August, and has since been working as a consultant and a guest instructor at Northeastern University.
Daniels said he's looking forward to working with a company that focuses on local news and advertising. He said the Globe has tried to become locally oriented, but it faces a challenge because most of the GateHouse papers are more firmly entrenched in their respective communities.
"It's very difficult without the kind of assets on the ground that GateHouse has," Daniels said.
He said he's also impressed with GateHouse's commitment to expanding its online and video products.
"All of us in the media have to have a fluency in multi-media," Daniels said. "If I didn't see that enthusiasm expand into every branch of the media that the business needs, I don't think I would have been particularly interested in the job. ... I have not been this excited about anything professionally for a long time."
Jon Chesto may be reached at email@example.com.