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Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen to step down after 4 decades in charge of family-owned paper


SEATTLE — Seattle Times publisher and CEO Frank Blethen has announced he will step down at the end of next year after four decades leading the newspaper his family has owned since 1896.

Blethen, 79, confirmed his plans Monday in a Seattle Times interview. He said he expects to retain his position as board chair of The Seattle Times Co.

“My mantra is that good content and useful content is what you need to attract an audience, and you need to attract an audience if you’re going to get revenue and get paid for what you do,” Blethen said. “And you know, I think right now we’re putting out a really, really, really good newspaper.”

Blethen, the newspaper’s seventh publisher, led The Times as it won nine Pulitzer Prizes, including one awarded in 2020 for the paper’s coverage of mistakes by Boeing leading to two 737 MAX crashes. He has also seen it through difficult lows, including the Great Recession, an industrywide contraction and a seven-week strike by Seattle Times workers that began in 2000.

Alan Fisco, the company’s president and chief financial officer, will be named CEO when Blethen steps down, Blethen wrote in a message to employees sent Monday afternoon. Blethen declined to share his preference for a successor as publisher, but he said he would like it to be a member of the Blethen family.

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