The recently named president of United Press International resigned Thursday and was replaced by a management consultant--a former journalist who promised new strategies for the beleaguered news agency. In addition, the wire service's managing editor was fired as the new owner of UPI continued to clean house.
The changes came little more than a week after the New York Times said it would drop UPI's news report on Dec. 31, a major blow to the nation's second-largest wire service.
UPI announced Thursday that Maxwell McCrohon, 58, had resigned as president, a job he took in August. He had been editor-in-chief the previous three years.
Succeeding McCrohon is Milton R. Benjamin, who heads a management consulting firm that had been advising Mario Vazquez Rana, UPI's new owner, since early this year. Vazquez Rana, a Mexican newspaper magnate, brought UPI out of bankruptcy law protection by buying it for $41 million in June.
Meanwhile, Managing Editor Ronald E. Cohen was dismissed. Although no official spokesman could be reached late in the day to explain the dismissal, UPI insiders said the 49-year-old Cohen, like other UPI executives in recent weeks, was fired because Vazquez Rana wishes to hire his own managers. No successor was named immediately.
"I'm leaving with a heavy heart because UPI has been my life and it's still my love," said Cohen, a 25-year veteran of the agency.
Vazquez Rana said in a statement that he was "sorry" to accept McCrohon's resignation. "But we both understood that this is a new phase, that UPI needs to make changes to reach new goals, and that is what brought both of us to this agreement," he said.
Benjamin was reluctant to discuss in detail his new strategies "for obvious competitive reasons."
"My goal is to be in a position where a year from now editors and publishers can make a decision on whether they want to subscribe to (UPI) strictly on its value rather than a number of other considerations," Benjamin said in an interview. The wire service plans to invest heavily in personnel and technology, he said.
Benjamin worked as a reporter and editor for UPI in the 1960s. Also, among other things, he was a roving foreign correspondent for the Voice of America from 1969 to 1972 and worked for Washington Post Co. until 1984.