Timothy E. Ryan, vice president of circulation for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, will join The Baltimore Sun Co. next month as head of the departments that print and deliver the newspaper.
Ryan, 41, will become vice president of circulation and operations effective July 10. Sun Publisher Michael E. Waller described the position as one that oversees everything that happens to the newspaper "from the time it leaves the newsroom until it arrives at the customer."
Ryan played a key role in successful efforts to enhance sales of both Philadelphia newspapers during a period when many major metropolitan papers were seeing stagnant or declining circulation. The newspapers posted three straight six-month periods of increased circulation in 1997 and 1998 for the first time in 19 years.
At the same time, Ryan was trimming costs in his division, enhancing operating profit margins significantly in the past four years and posting record profits in the past two.
"He's got a great record of accomplishment, but also he has great leadership skills," Waller said yesterday, explaining why Ryan stood out from other candidates. "People really like working for him, is the bottom line."
In Philadelphia, Ryan oversees a 125-employee division for newspapers with combined sales of 580,000 papers daily. The Inquirer has a circulation of 838,000 Sunday - a day on which the Daily News does not publish. Ryan will be joining a newspaper with a circulation of roughly 330,000 daily and 475,000 Sunday.
But Ryan will have increased responsibilities at The Sun, which is among a small but growing number of papers that combine leadership of the circulation and operations areas.
"The opportunity to have broader responsibilities for both the manufacturing process as well as circulation" was a key reason for taking the job, Ryan said. He cited The Sun's "quality" reputation and its recent acquisition by Tribune Co. as two others.
Ryan began his career with Tribune Co. - which this week completed its acquisition of the Times Mirror Co. group of papers including The Sun - in 1982 as a district sales manager with the Chicago Tribune. He moved up through the ranks, becoming the Tribune's suburban circulation manager in 1989. In 1992, he was named vice president of circulation at Tribune Co.-owned Peninsula Newspapers Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Ryan joined Knight Ridder Inc. as vice president of circulation for the Philadelphia papers in 1993.
He often used sports analogies when giving pep talks, a practice that prompted Customer Service Director Norene Miller to call him "coach." During staff meetings, she said, "I always feel like we're in a huddle."
Married with two children, Ryan is a 1981 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He earned his masters in management from Northwestern University.