Susan Ellis has been named chief financial officer for Wick Communications, owner of the Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun.
Wick has media operations in 13 western states, and Ellis said addressing the challenges of community newspapers and how Wick has approached that is a big part of what drew her to the position.
“It’s not a company that’s standing still,” Ellis said. “It’s evolving into the next phase.”
Ellis was the CFO for WestLand Engineering & Environmental Services in Tucson for six years and was vice president and controller for Equity Title Agency in the Phoenix area for nine years, where she grew her experience in banking, real estate and cybersecurity.
Ellis said she has found in Wick a company that is “growing, changing and dynamic, and not just stuck in ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.’ Because, to me, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
Ellis pointed to Wick’s strong board, “a CEO who listens” and forward-looking projects as a draw for the job.
“There will always be a place for print, it’s not going to go away,” she said, but said the company has demonstrated strategies that will keep it moving forward into the digital age.
“I needed to believe in what the company does in the world, and I really do believe in what Wick does in the world,” she said. “At the end of the day, that’s what drew me in, the importance of what we do and the interesting path that lays ahead.”
Wick Communications CEO Francis Wick said Ellis’ strong background as a leader in different industries makes her a good fit for the company.
“I realized immediately Susan has the attention and focus to help us address some of the standing items which need to be addressed in Wick,” he said. “What stood out to me in our initial discussions was her authenticity, her interest in the history of Wick, and our journey to preserve journalism stood high on her mind. Her ethos mirrored the type of leadership culture we desire — passion and purpose.”
Wick also noted the strong contributions from retiring CFO Mike Rand “and the positive impacts he made for the organization.”