francis_wick.jpgWick Communications President and CEO Tom Yunt announced Friday the company has accepted the resignation of long-time Herald/Review publisher Phil Vega and appointed Francis Wick to the position. Vega’s resignation is effective Jan. 31, 2015.

“Phil has graciously agreed to work with Francis to ensure a smooth transition period through the end of January, 2015. The company appreciates Phil’s years of dedicated service and his continued cooperation in working with Francis,” Yunt said.

Vega began his career with the company in 1992 as the managing editor at The Daily Herald in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. He was hired as general manager of The Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review in 1996. He was named the paper’s publisher in 2003.

Francis Wick will begin full-time on Jan. 1 and will have responsibility for the Herald/Review, the Douglas Dispatch, the San Pedro Valley News-Sun in Benson and the Daily Territorial in Tucson.

Wick most recently served as publisher of The Montrose Daily Press in Montrose, Colorado, owned and operated by Wick Communications. Previously he worked as the assistant advertising manager at The Daily Iberian, in New Iberia, La., also a Wick-owned newspaper and for Swift Communications, with experience in both news reporting and advertising sales and management.

He holds an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in business management from the University of Arizona. Francis is the grandson of Wick Communications founder, Milton I. Wick, who purchased his first newspaper in Niles, Ohio, with his brother, James, in 1926. Milton’s sons, Walt and Robert, joined their father in purchasing James’ interests in the newspaper business in 1965. After his uncle, Walt, Francis represents the second Wick family descendant to become publisher of The Herald, a Wick Communications newspaper. He is a native of Sierra Vista, attended elementary and high school here, graduating from Buena High School Class of 1999.

“I have charged Francis with making The Herald the flagship newspaper of Wick Communications,” Yunt said. “I expect this newspaper to become a model for our other dailies.”

Wick Communications owns and operates newspapers, websites, magazines and specialty publications in 11 states.

“I am very excited to be coming home to a newspaper that embodies community engagement,” Wick said following Friday’s announcement. “Phil Vega has left an incredible mark on this newspaper and the communities it serves and we will work tirelessly to build upon those successes.”

Francis and his wife, Amanda, will be moving to Sierra Vista with the couple’s twins, Sebastian and Savannah, ages two and a half.

“I strongly believe in the newspaper business and our mission to serve a community. The business model is still very healthy and will continue to evolve like every business in this era. It’s an exciting time to be here.”

Yunt said the new alignment of publications under Wick’s direction will put the company in a better position.

“Adding Bisbee, Douglas and Benson under the Sierra Vista umbrella has certain strategic advantages that we will explore and maximize going forward,” Yunt said. “This structure should make all these newspapers stronger in the future.”

Green accepts a new position

Yunt also announced that the company’s production director, Scott Green, has accepted a position with Swift Communications effective Jan. 9, 2015, and will be relocating to Gypsum, Colorado.

“I want to personally thank Scott for his hard work and dedication to Wick and wish he and his family well in his new opportunity,” Yunt said.