Brian Priester to lead Michigan.com, Detroit Free Press

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Gannett veteran will lead of Michigan.com and The Detroit Free Press, after both organizations’ former head Joyce Jenereaux in May announced her upcoming retirement.

Brian Priester will serve as president of Michigan.com and the Detroit Free Press, effective Aug. 1, according to Gannett officials and a statement Wednesday by Jenereaux.

Brian Priester, president of Gannett Mid-Michigan and president of the Lansing State Journal, was announced as the new president of the Detroit Free Press and Michigan.com during a press conference at the company's offices Wednesday in Detroit.

Priester currently works as president of Gannett in the mid-Michigan region and leads the Lansing State Journal. He spent more than 20 years as a marketing and media executive with Gannett, which owns the Free Press and has part-ownership of Michigan.com.

Replacing Priester at Gannett Mid-Michigan and the Lansing State Journal will be Rebecca Poynter Steckler, current senior vice president of advertising at Michigan.com, according to Jenereaux.

Priester's hire was announced Wednesday at Michigan.com's downtown Detroit offices by Michael Kane, East Group president at Gannett.

Kane said that Gannett Mid-Michigan had seen growth for three straight years and that Priester had the formula for success.

Shortly after the annoucement, Jenereaux congratulated Priester in an emailed statement.

"Brian has become one of Gannett’s top performing presidents and I’m certain that under his leadership Michigan.com and the Detroit Free Press will continue to thrive," she said. "As I wind down my tenure at the Detroit Free Press and Michigan.com, it brings me great comfort to know that Brian will be my successor."

Jenereaux, 62, announced her retirement May 12 from the posts, effective by the end of the summer. The recruitment search for her replacements began immediately after the announcement, according to Gannett.

Priester, a 28-year media veteran, previously served as president and publisher of the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., according to Jenereaux. He also spent time at various papers including The Indianapolis Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In Lansing, Priester is vice chairperson of the Capital Region Community Foundation Board of Trustees, Jenereaux said in a statement. He also is on the Lansing Economic Area Partnership Board of Directors and is an eight-time winner of the Gannett's President's Ring award recognizing excellent performance.

Priester said he plans to move to Detroit, and probably will live downtown.

He holds a bachelor of science in political science and a master's degree in communication from the University of Central Missouri. He and his wife, Sara, have three children.

Michigan.com, formerly known as The Detroit Media Partnership, handles advertising sales for The Detroit News, Free Press and Gannett's other Michigan properties: The Lansing State Journal, Battle Creek Enquirer, Port Huron Times Herald, Livingston Daily Press & Argus and Observer & Eccentric Media.

Jenereaux spearheaded the rebranding of Detroit Media Partnership to Michigan.com. The organization runs business operations for the Free Press and The Detroit News under a federal joint operating agreement.

hfournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

Twitter: @HollyPFournier