'USA Today' Revamps Management, Names Kurtz Digital Chief

Steve Kurtz

Marking the most radical shift in the paper's history, USA Today on Friday announced a major organizational restructuring with the creation of new departments as well as key appointments in the departments of circulation, finance and news.

"This significant restructuring reflects USA Today's evolution from a newspaper company to a multiplatform media company," said David Hunke, president/publisher of USA Today.

In all, five new departments have been established with management positions announced. The restructuring will reportedly result in staff cuts of 9%, or about 130 of 1,500 existing jobs.

Steve Kurtz has been appointed vice president of digital development, and will focus on developing and maintaining technology and systems to support USA Today's existing "dotcom," mobile, iPhone and iPad platforms. Kurtz will also oversee the development and acquisition of digital and emerging platform space.

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Kurtz was previously director of digital information technology for USAToday.com and joined the company in 2004 as manager of information technology development.

Also, Rudd Davis has been named vice president of business development at the Gannett-owned newspaper. Previously founder and president of BNQT, Davis will head up a department at USA Today that is expected to develop and secure new business opportunities and partnerships, including brand licensing, content syndication, acquisitions and joint ventures.

Jeff Dionise has been appointed vice president of product development and design, and will focus on research and development of new USA Today products across all of the brand's networks.

Heather Frank has been named vice president of vertical development, overseeing the department dedicated to the creation and implementation of new as well as existing vertical content areas. The restructuring is also bringing about the establishment of USA Today Sports. Ross Schaufelberger has been named VP/GM of the new department.

Earlier this year, Gannett Co. said USA Today employees would be asked to take another week of unpaid leave in the second quarter of 2010, while the previous year's pay freeze would continue through the second quarter.

In a memo circulated at the time, Hunke said that in the fourth quarter of 2009, "National advertising revenues in general were still down from the previous year, as were paid advertising pages at USA Today," adding that "the nation's economic recovery still appears inconsistent and unsure."

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