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Steve Swartz to succeed Frank Bennack as CEO of Hearst Corp.

March 27, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Onetime Hearst President and COO Steve Swartz (now CEO) and James Duff, President and CEO, The Newseum.
Onetime Hearst President and COO Steve Swartz (now CEO) and James Duff,… (Paul Morigi / Getty Images )

One of the longest-serving chief executives in the media industry is stepping down.

Frank A. Bennack Jr., chief executive of Hearst Corp. since 1979, will give up that title in June. Steven Swartz, currently president and chief operating officer, will become CEO. Bennack will remain vice chairman of the Hearst Board.

Although best known for its magazine unit, which includes Cosmopolitan and Esquire, Hearst also has a major presence in the TV industry. It owns stakes in several powerful cable networks including ESPN, A&E, History and Lifetime. It is also one of the nation's largest owners of local TV stations, with 29 outlets, many in the nation's biggest markets.

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"Since Frank first stepped into the role of CEO in 1979, Hearst has seen unparalleled growth: 90% of the businesses we are in today did not exist or were not part of our company when his tenure began," said William R. Hearst III, chairman of the Hearst Board.

Swartz, who started his career as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, has been with Hearst since 2001 and was named chief operating officer in 2011.

One of Swartz's first tasks will be filling the position of president of entertainment and syndication. Scott Sassa, who had held that post, resigned last month in the wake of a scandal involving a stripper who tried to extort him and sent texts he'd written her to senior officials at the magazine and television company.

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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