It’s a pretty sound bet that a Las Vegas advertising executive will take over next month as publisher of the Pine Bluff Commercial.
Teresa Hicks, advertising director of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is the odds-on favorite to succeed the recently departed Ed Graves on Aug. 14, according to whispers circulating in the newspaper world.
A 1984 graduate of historically black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, Hicks would be the second African-American publisher at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. The first was Graves, who led the Commercial and about a dozen smaller GateHouse Media properties in Arkansas for a little less than a year.
After several inquiries from Arkansas Business and a report on the departure in last week’s Whispers, GateHouse confirmed on Tuesday that Graves’ last day was July 14. A former Gannett Co. executive, he has returned to his family in Florida, according to a brief note in Thursday’s Commercial.
Graves basically came out of retirement for the job, replacing Byron Tate as publisher in Pine Bluff last July. Tate, publisher of the Sheridan Headlight, is the new president of the board of the Arkansas Press Association (see Former Pine Bluff Publisher Byron Tate Pushes on at Arkansas Press Association.)
Hicks, who holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas, also once worked for Gannett, heading the advertising department at the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama before heading to Vegas in late 2015. That was about the same time that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican donor, bought the Las Vegas paper for $140 million via News + Capital Group LLC. He retained GateHouse to manage the paper.
GateHouse wouldn’t confirm or deny that Hicks is its choice to lead the Commercial, but Regional Vice President Matt Guthrie, who is running the paper in the meantime, told Arkansas Business, “We have hired a replacement to start in the middle of August and will be announcing more details when the start date approaches.” Guthrie said he was “sad to see Ed go. … He did a lot of good things for the newspaper.”