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Brian Priester, president of Michigan.com and the Detroit Free Press, will retire in September.

Gannett, which owns Michigan.com and the paper, will begin a national search to replace Priester.

"It is a very personal decision," Priester said in a statement. "I lost both my brothers unexpectedly in the past year, and honestly, that took a lot out of me and gave me a different perspective. It really brought home to me how short life can be.

"After a lot of thought, I decided the time was right to pursue my dream of living a quieter life in the north woods of Wisconsin while I still have some time left."

Priester took over at the Free Press in 2016. He previously led the Lansing State Journal, Port Huron Times Herald and the Battle Creek Enquirer. He's worked in media for 28 years.

Michigan.com, formerly known as the Detroit Media Partnership, runs business operations for the Free Press and The Detroit News under a joint operating agreement. 

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

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