The Chicago Sun-Times is searching for a new CEO as Nykia Wright announced Monday she is stepping down from the position.
Now owned by Chicago Public Media after the first-ever non-profit merger between a newspaper and a radio station, Wright steered the Sun-Times through the transition from for-profit to non-profit and reported to CPM CEO Matt Moog, post-merger. Wright arrived at the Sun-Times in 2017 as chief operating officer and became the paper’s CEO in 2018.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Wright was on a leave of absence since the new year began, leading to speculation on her departure. In an e-mail to her now former staffers, she said: “I couldn’t exit without thanking you for trusting me to lead this storied institution for the past 5 years. For me and from the start, my success would only be defined as leaving the organization in better shape than I found it. You gave me the space and support to succeed in doing that and I thank you. Please continue to lean in and strengthen the model for local news. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve the city alongside you. I firmly believe that if any organization has a shot at transforming local news, it is this combined entity.”
“I’m very grateful for Nykia’s leadership, especially as we brought together two outstanding and beloved news organizations, the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ Chicago, under the Chicago Public Media umbrella,” Moog said in a statement. “I wish her all the very best in her next chapter.”
There was no further comment from Chicago Public Media or the Sun-Times.
The Sun-Times has had numerous ownership changes as a for-profit newspaper in the last 40 years, from Rupert Murdoch’s short-lived era to Michael Ferro and Wrapports. The paper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the late 2000s, as did the Chicago Tribune’s then parent company. leading to a questionable future about newspaper journalism in the nation’s third-largest city. Last year, the Sun-Times converted to a non-profit model after merging with public radio station WBEZ as the paper relies on donations, “member” subscriptions, and philanthropic support.