Bruce G. Ray, who has been president and publisher of The Tribune since October 2008, has resigned, effective Feb. 27.
Ray, 44, led The Tribune and SanLuisObispo.com during the newspaper industry’s unprecedented turbulent times, furthering its public service mission and leadership in San Luis Obispo County.
“It has been an honor over the last six and a half years leading this great team through the depths of the worst recession in our lifetimes and along our digital transformation path,” Ray said Friday.
“Despite the challenges our industry has faced and a brutal economy, we have managed to become the largest daily newspaper from San Jose to Fresno to Ventura. In addition, our online presence is without a peer in the same region, with SanLuisObispo.com averaging well over 500,000 unique visitors a month and last year generating more than 40 million page views.
“Although I am moving on, I know the future for the industry is bright and our public service journalism mission has never been more important,” Ray added. “I am heartened to know that such a talented and dedicated team will be leading the way in fulfilling this mission.”
In the interim, Fresno Bee publisher and president Tom Cullinan will oversee The Tribune.
Ray has made many contributions to both The Tribune and The McClatchy Co. during his tenure and has played an important role in the county as well, Cullinan said. “We appreciate those contributions, and I know that he will continue to make a difference in his next career opportunity,” he added. “We wish him well in his next endeavor.”
Ray said he is looking at two intriguing opportunities but is stepping down now to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Ray said he is proud of several accomplishments, most notably The Tribune’s digital growth, launch of the successful quarterly business magazine, BizBuzz EXTRA, and expanding the scope of the county's leading wine magazine, Vintages, which now reaches more than 140,000 readers in San Luis Obispo County, Fresno and the Central Valley.
Born in Texas and raised in Clarksville, Tenn., Ray joined The Tribune in 2007 as chief financial officer, bringing with him valuable outside expertise from several successful companies.
He spent five years at Trimble Navigation Ltd., a maker of global positioning systems and other engineering and construction products, and was senior sales manager for the Western United States when he joined The Tribune. He has also held finance positions with Excite@home, the Seeds of Change division of Mars Inc., Intel Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp.
Ray holds several leadership positions locally. He is vice chairman of the Economic Vitality Corp., immediate past chairman of the Central Coast Economic Forecast, and serves on the California Newspaper Publishers Association and Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce boards of directors and the Cal Poly Arts Advisory Board.
The Tribune has more than 100,000 readers, with a daily combined print and digital circulation of 29,000 and a Sunday circulation of 40,000. Besides the newspaper and website, the company publishes The Cambrian, a weekly serving the North Coast.
The Tribune was founded in 1869 and is the oldest continually operating business in San Luis Obispo. It is owned by Sacramento-based McClatchy, which owns The Fresno Bee and 27 other daily newspapers nationwide.
Like all other McClatchy newspapers, The Tribune is the leading local media company in its market, offering a wide array of print and digital products.