Warren Colville called “forward-thinking leader” as he retires

Warren Colville has stepped down as publisher of The Buffalo News, a change that raises a flood of concerns regarding the future of the paper under Lee Enterprises.

Colville announced May 5 that he is stepping down from his post after 33 years with the News, including his tenure as president, which began in 2001, and as president and publisher, which began in 2013.

Colville joined The News in 1988 as vice president and advertising director. Before joining The Buffalo News, Colville was vice president of advertising at the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla. He also held advertising leadership positions at the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. He began his career in newspapers in 1965, at the Daily Register in Red Bank, N.J., in 1965.

Colville, 75, remained as the News’ publisher after Lee Enterprises acquired the News from Berkshire Hathaway in March. He became the paper’s publisher emeritus on May 6, a day after he announced his retirement.

His abrupt departure came as a surprise since Colville had previously offered assurances when Lee first bought the paper that he was not leaving anytime soon.

Guild President Sandy Tan expressed sadness over Colville’s departure.

“We have disagreed, but we have also often worked together in the best interests of the paper, especially as times got tougher,” she said. “Warren has always held our respect as a fair-minded and forward-thinking leader. He listened and considered other points of view. It’s a shame he’s leaving like this, when good leadership is so critical and none of us can be together to wish him well.”