ECM Publishers, Inc. President Marge Winkelman has announced the resignation of Jeff Coolman, general manager of ECM-Sun Newspapers, effective April 1, 2013. Coolman had been the lead manager of 34 weekly newspapers in the south and western suburbs of the Twin Cities, and the Stillwater Gazette and Valley Life, for the better part of the last decade.
A professional search for Coolman’s successor will begin immediately. Winkelman will serve as the interim general manager until a replacement is selected.
Winkelman, who made the announcement in a Wednesday, March 13, afternoon meeting of ECM-Sun Newspaper managers, said ECM Publishers, Inc., the parent company of ECM-Sun, was appreciative of Coolman’s leadership during the past 15 months.
ECM Publishers, Inc. acquired Sun Newspapers in January of 2012. Winkelman credited Coolman with playing a key role during the transition period to help successfully blend the two companies, which combined feature 51 community newspapers and circulation exceeding 650,000 throughout Minnesota. “Jeff was key to our company and we truly feel fortunate that he was here during this period to provide such exceptional leadership. We wish he and Debbie (his wife) the very best,” said Winkelman.
Coolman came to Sun Newspapers in 2001 as vice president and group publisher. He has been in the media industry for the last 20 years. As group publisher and corporate vice president he led the Minnesota group (one of four divisions of American Community Newspapers) through multiple acquisitions/mergers and in 2004 became one of three minority owners. In 2010 he formed an internal agency called the Twin Cities Newspaper Network (TCNN) with the sole purpose of partnering with other community newspapers in the suburbs to attract more national advertising clients. During his time in Minnesota Coolman has served on numerous MNA committees and has served as a volunteer for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In addressing managers, Coolman said the timing for his departure just felt right. “It has been an honor to serve as the leader of Sun Newspapers group for the past 12 years. We have seen many transitions over the years and the most recent was the merger with ECM Publishers. The merger has strengthened the Sun Newspaper group, but also further emphasized the importance and need for local community news and advertising. The Minnesota team is one of the best in the business and I wish them and ECM many more successes in the future,” Coolman said.
As general manager for ECM-Sun Newspapers he has been responsible for advertising, circulation and the overall operations of 34 weekly newspapers.
Former Gov. Elmer L. Andersen founded ECM Publishers in 1976. Julian Andersen, Elmer’s son, is the CEO of the company. ECM Publishers also operates printing presses in Princeton, Minn., where it prints its own products, but also provides commercial printing for a variety of customers, including the New York Times.