Carl Esposito, publisher of The Daily Times for nine years and regional president for Adams Publishing Group for nearly three years, will retire effective Nov. 1, Adams Publishing Group announced in a press release.
Bryan Sandmeier, general manager of The Daily Times, will be promoted to publisher.
Paul W. Mauney, general manager of The Greeneville Sun and Adams’ chief revenue officer for this region, will replace Esposito as regional president for Adams’ Tennessee/North Carolina/Virginia group.
Before coming to Maryville, Esposito was Media General’s senior executive for its Tennessee/Southwest Virginia properties, which included the Pulitzer prize-winning Bristol Herald Courier, CBS affiliate WJHL-TV, websites TriCities.com and SWVAToday.com and six paid-circulation weekly newspapers.
“Carl has done an outstanding job of leading our Tennessee/North Carolina/Virginia Group these past few years. His commitment to this industry, his associates and the communities they serve has been second to none. All of us at APG wish him the very, very best in his future endeavors,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO of Adams Publishing Group.
Esposito will retire following more than four decades of corporate newspaper leadership experience and community involvement.
From 2000-03, he served as vice president and publisher of the Southwest Ohio Group of Cox Ohio Publishing, where he oversaw the operations of several daily and weekly newspapers, and played a key role in the group’s ownership transition from The Thomson Corporation to Cox Newspapers in 2000. Dating back to 1979, he served with Thomson Newspapers in corporate positions of business operations and information technology, until being named president and CEO of the company’s Southwest Ohio Strategic Marketing Group in 1993.
More recently, Esposito’s community activities have included serving on the United Way of Blount County board of directors, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Pellissippi State Foundation board of trustees and the Empty Pantry Fund board of directors. He also is a member of Maryville Kiwanis and a Leadership Blount Class of 2013 graduate. Esposito previously chaired United Way campaigns in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia, and Middletown, Ohio, and also served on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors in those communities.
In the newspaper industry, Esposito currently serves on the boards of the Tennessee Press Association and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University and completed executive education studies at Columbia University, Northwestern University and the University of Southern California.
“I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had with The Daily Times and Adams Publishing Group, and even more so to have become part of our great Blount County community,” Esposito said. “Since my taking on regional responsibilities in January 2017, Bryan Sandmeier has done an outstanding job as general manager, and that’s why I’m confident he’ll succeed as the next publisher of The Daily Times. We share many of the same views and beliefs about what makes a great community newspaper, and that’s why we’re sure to have a seamless transition to his leadership.”
Sandmeier, a North Dakota native, has been circulation director of The Daily Times since 2008 and took on the dual role as general manager in January 2017.
From 2002-08, Sandmeier was circulation director at the Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury; from 2000-02, he was circulation director at the Jonesboro (Arkansas) Sun; in 1999 and 2000, he held the same position at the Times-Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was circulation director for 12 years at The Salina (Kansas) Journal, held several positions at the Racine (Wisconsin) Journal Times, and also worked as distribution manager at The Bismarck (North Dakota) Tribune.
“When you enjoy your craft and the person you report to, time flies,” Sandmeier said. “When reminiscing about the past nine years, that’s exactly what happened. Carl’s retirement is a huge loss to the Adams Publishing Group, The Daily Times and communities that we serve. Personally, I feel loss just talking about Carl’s departure.
“Carl is a great visionary leader and mentor with extensive knowledge of our industry. But for me, he is and always will be first and foremost, a valued friend. And, even though I join the many wishing he was staying with our company just a little longer, like everything else, Carl has planned well for this moment in time and he’s earned it. Enjoy it all my boss, mentor, friend — but don’t change your phone number!” Sandmeier quipped.
Gregg Jones, APG’s executive vice president and president over the company’s Eastern Division, said he was “absolutely thrilled” when he hired Esposito in October 2010. The Daily Times then was owned by Jones’ family.
“My expectations were great, given that my respect for Carl came not just because he was one of the finest newspapermen I had ever known, but because of his decades-long demonstrated commitment to producing wonderful newspapers that reflect and engage their readership, his dedication to fighting for progress in the communities he serves and his strong integrity.
“It would be disingenuous of me to say that I do not selfishly regret to see Carl retire. But, after 40-plus years of his outstanding service to the newspaper industry and to the communities in which he served, I can only express that I am supremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work by his side, to learn from him and to claim him as a very dear friend,” Jones said.
Of Sandmeier, Jones said he was the “natural person to jump into Carl’s big shoes as publisher of The Daily Times. In fact, having acted as general manager of The Daily Times since Jan. 1, 2017, and having had Carl as his mentor for the past nine years, Bryan already pretty much has the publisher’s job down pat.”
J. Todd Foster was Esposito’s editor in Bristol from 2006-10 before rejoining the publisher in Maryville as editor in February 2018.
“Carl’s retirement is a blow to this newspaper and corporation, but it’s also a blow to me personally,” Foster said. “As a career journalist trained to be suspicious of authority, Carl transcended every manager I’ve ever had. He not only taught me the economics of newspapering but gave me every resource we needed in Bristol and Maryville to excel at our craft.
“The Blount County community also is losing a passionate leader,” Foster added. “But by promoting Bryan internally, Adams has ensured our continued success as a newspaper and as a community asset.”
With 30 daily newspapers, more than 100 non-daily newspapers and other enterprises operating in 20 states and the District of Columbia, Adams Publishing Group describes itself as “first and foremost a family-owned community newspaper company, which is driven to provide high quality products and services that make a positive difference in the lives of its constituents, which are, in prioritized order: its readers, its customers/advertisers, its communities, its Associates (employees) and its shareholders.”
Other Adams family enterprises include outdoor advertising (billboards), radio, wine, Camping World/Good Sam (recreational vehicles) and significant philanthropic endeavors.