Sharon Ryan on Monday was named president and publisher of the Bay Area News Group of 11 daily newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune.

A longtime newspaper executive, Ryan becomes the first woman to lead the Bay Area News Group.

Ryan takes over from Steve Rossi, who was recently named chief operating officer of Digital First Media, the New York-based parent company of the Bay Area News Group, which operates 75 daily newspapers across the U.S. and hundreds of multi-platform products reaching 67 million people in 18 states.

The announcement comes as newspapers move to reach an increasingly digital audience. Ryan said she is "optimistic and confident" about the Bay Area News Group's ability to adapt to the digital age.

"We're the biggest news gathering organization in the Bay Area, and we have a great, talented team," Ryan said. "We have made a lot of changes in the last few years and will continue to make changes. We will be successful."

"We have a changing business model and the newspaper industry has been changing, and we can change," she added. "It's part of what a lot of industries do all the time."

Ryan will continue to serve as chief financial officer of California Newspapers Partnership, which she joined in 2007. She was made general manager of the Bay Area News Group last year.

Rossi said Ryan is well-suited to her new role.


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"Sharon and I have worked closely together at California Newspapers Partnership and I'm looking forward to working with her as she applies her considerable managerial talent to leading the Bay Area News Group," he said.

Newspaper analyst Ken Doctor said that Ryan's role as both president and publisher of BANG and chief financial officer of CNP is "totally in line with Digital First's move to have fewer executives with wider portfolios." The company is "taking out costs at every level, but also taking out costs at the executive level which some companies don't do as much," he said.

Ryan grew up in a suburb of Chicago. She earned a degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Before coming to the California Newspapers Partnership, Ryan was director of business and operational analysis with the Chicago Tribune; CFO at the San Luis Obispo Tribune; and CFO and vice president of technology at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

She lives in San Jose with her husband, Randy, and two children.

Contact Pete Carey at 408-920-5419 Follow him on Twitter.com/petecarey.

Sharon Ryan
Current job: Publisher, Bay Area News Group; chief financial officer, California Newspapers Partnership
Previous employment: San Luis Obispo Tribune, CFO; St. Paul Pioneer Press, CFO and vice president of technology; Chicago Tribune, director of business/operational analysis; Arthur Anderson, auditor
Education: Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, master of business administration; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, bachelor of science, accounting
Residence: San Jose
Family: married, two children