NEW YORK — Kenneth W. Lowe has been elected president, chief operating officer and a director of the E.W. Scripps Co. by the board of directors, the media company announced Thursday.
Lowe, who was most recently chairman and CEO of Scripps Networks, will step into the presidency post previously held by William Burleigh, who will continue as chairman and CEO of Scripps until retiring in late September.
While industry insiders see Lowe’s appointment as an obvious sign that he will eventually succeed Burleigh as chairman and CEO, a Scripps spokesman said that no decision has been made yet.
“Ken Lowe perfectly embodies the strength and vision of the E.W. Scripps Co.,” said Burleigh. “He has strong roots in the traditional media outlets that are the foundation of the company, and a deep understanding of the growth potential and power of new-media applications and the Internet. He is the perfect person to lead our operations into a new century and a new millennium.”
In his new role, Lowe will manage daily operations at Scripps’ four divisions — newspapers, broadcast television, category television, and licensing/other media. He will continue to act as chairman and CEO of Scripps Networks, overseeing cable networks Home & Garden Television, the Food Network and Do-It-Yourself.
Lowe, who will relocate from Knoxville, Tenn., to the company’s Cincinnati headquarters, joined Scripps in 1980 as general manager of the company’s radio properties. In 1994, he founded HGTV.
The E.W. Scripps Co. operates 19 daily newspapers; nine network-affiliated TV stations; three cable networks; and a TV programmer, Scripps Prods. The company also operates United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licenser of news features and comics, and the Scripps Howard News Service.
On Monday, Scripps reported that its fourth-quarter profits beat estimates, helped by strong growth in its television business despite a weak quarter in broadcast television. The company said net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $45 million.
In trading Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange, Scripps stock was unchanged at $48 a share.