IPA announces Fisher as new president, chief executive officer

Sep 27, 2017

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SPRINGFIELD, IL--After an extensive search process spanning four months, the Illinois Press Association board of directors is pleased to announce the selection of Shaw Media Publisher Sam Fisher as the new president and chief executive officer for the IPA, Illinois Press Foundation and National Newspaper Association.

Fisher is the immediate past chair of the IPA board of directors. He succeeds Dennis DeRossett, who resigned his position mid-May.

Vice President of Government Relations Josh Sharp has also been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of the IPA. He will continue to oversee the government relations department. 

“I’m excited about this opportunity, as the IPA is such a great organization with such a talented staff.  I’ve always felt that the role of the IPA is critical to the continued success of Illinois newspapers and that’s why I have been involved in the organization for so many years. The recent affiliation with the National Newspaper Association has been extremely beneficial to both associations and I look forward to meeting more of their membership in coming weeks,” Fisher said.

He continued, “It was a difficult decision to leave a great company like Shaw Media, which I’ve called home for so long. In the final analysis, I felt that this position was good fit for me professionally; and I felt given my newspaper experience, coupled with my knowledge of the association and Illinois newspapers, that I was also a good fit for the IPA.”

IPA Legal Counsel Don Craven will continue to serve as the interim president and CEO until Fisher’s official start on Oct. 25.

Following DeRossett’s resignation, IPA Board Chair Sandy Macfarland appointed Treasurer Ron Wallace to oversee a selection committee comprised of IPA at-large publishers from across the state and representatives from the IPA, IPF and NNA boards of directors.

The committee advertised the position in the IPA’s statewide advertising network and on state press associations’ job boards.  The committee narrowed the selection pool and interviewed four candidates in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 22. They then made their recommendation to the board of directors for the final selection.

Wallace emphasized the importance of an open selection process. 

“I believed it was crucial to the IPA and the NNA that we invite a wide spectrum of board members and publishers from daily and weekly newspapers, from all regions of the state and from the other organizations we provide services to,” he said. “I am grateful for the participation of the National Newspaper Association and the Press Foundation in this process."

Fisher, who has been with Shaw Media for 34 years, is the publisher of the Bureau County Republican (Princeton), Putnam County Record and Tonica News.

He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, joining Shaw Media in 1983 and holding various management positions at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake and at the Kane County Chronicle in St. Charles, IL.

Fisher had been a corporate sales trainer before he was promoted to publisher at the Bureau County Republican in 1993. Fisher previously had oversight of the Telegraph (Dixon), Daily Gazette (Sterling/Rock Falls), Ogle County Newspapers (Oregon) and Prairie Advocate (Lanark).