Durango Herald publisher Richard Ballantine announced today he will step down as the head of the 132-year old newspaper, its parent company, Ballantine Communications Inc., and the other multimedia ventures the company encompasses, including three Montezuma County newspapers, Directory Plus and Buzztown.com.
Standing atop a worn wooden orange crate, Ballantine said he will be letting go of his titles as CEO of Ballantine Communications and as publisher of the four newspapers the company owns, The Durango Herald, The Cortez Journal, The Mancos Times, and The Dolores Star.
The announcement was made through a live video conference call to employees of the Cortez Journal.
After 30 years at the helm, Ballantine said he was ready to let new talent take leadership of the company.
"These times require somebody and a company that is nimble, adaptive and willing to try new things on the digital side," Ballantine said.
The announcement in no way means the company is for sale, he said.
Ballantine will remain as the chairman of the newspapers' editorial board and the board of directors of Ballantine Communications.
The transition has been in the works for a while, said Elizabeth Ballantine, the publisher's sister and a member of the company's board of directors.
The third generation of the Ballantine family to be involved in the company's operation is still fully committed and engaged, said Chris Ballantine, Richard Ballantine's son and a member of the company's board of directors.
A search committee composed of board of directors members will begin searching for a new CEO in hopes of having someone in place by mid-May.