Kelly to retire as Seattle Times Co. president

News release

Seattle Times President Carolyn Kelly to Retire
Carolyn S. Kelly, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Seattle Times Company has announced her plans to retire effective December 30, 2010. Kelly has served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to the present. She joined The Times in 1977, beginning in Finance, and has served in Circulation, Advertising, as Chief Financial Officer and as Senior Vice President and General Manager over her more than 30 years with the company.

Kelly was integrally involved both in establishing the operation specifics of the Joint Operating Agreement with the Hearst Corporation's Seattle Post-Intelligencer in1983 and in overseeing much of the legal strategy in its termination between 2003 and 2008. She also has played a key role in the continued success of the Blethen family’s ownership of the business, taking responsibility for the professional training and development of the next generation of Blethens as they have transitioned into leadership roles. She is credited with helping the company weather the worst of the recession’s effects and achieving a hard-fought renegotiation of its debt during a time of intense economic chaos worldwide.

”Carolyn’s tenacity, intellect, thoughtfulness and unwavering commitment to our mission and values over more than three decades have contributed significantly to our success in navigating the treacherous nature of the last decade in particular,” said Frank Blethen, Publisher and CEO of The Seattle Times. He added, “Carolyn is more than my professional colleague. She has been my friend, confidante and partner in leading the dramatic, continuous change and evolution of the Seattle Times through the last three decades.”

”I’ve been blessed to be part of the Seattle Times’ mission of independent journalism and community stewardship through all or part of five decades,” said Kelly. “Frank’s and the Blethen family’s unwavering trust and confidence has allowed me to do my best work in service of that mission and I will always be incredibly grateful for that. It’s been especially meaningful in the last few tough years as we’ve all fought so hard for survival and to sustain that mission. Our Pulitzer for Breaking News really capped that off; it was a tribute to our newsroom and to the entire company.”

Currently serving as Board Chair of the YMCA of Greater Seattle and on the board of directors of the Seattle Foundation, Kelly has served in many community organizations over her career. She has served on the board of trustees of Seattle University, on the board of the Central Puget Sound Council of Campfire USA, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board, on advisory committees for Seattle Girls School and the Women’s Funding Alliance, and has been active with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.

As a part of a larger reorganization and succession planning process, the Seattle Times Company has announced a reorganization of its senior leadership team, which will be compromised of Publisher and CEO Frank Blethen, Associate Publisher and Editorial Page Editor Ryan Blethen, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor David Boardman, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing Alan Fisco, Senior Vice President Business Operations Mike Shepard and a Senior Vice President Finance and Strategy to be named at a later date.

The Seattle Times is a 114-year-old locally owned journalism and community service company. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen, it is a fourth- and fifth-generation family business. The family's flagship newspaper, The Seattle Times, is the largest daily newspaper in Washington state and the largest Sunday newspaper in the Northwest. The flagship Web site,, is the largest local news information web site in the Northwest. Other Blethen-owned newspapers in Washington are the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic, The Issaquah Press and its affiliated community newspapers: the Newcastle News, the Sammamish Review and the SnoValley Star.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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