The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 4, 2005

Tippie College Of Business Honors Lee Enterprises Leadership Team

When Henry B. Tippie College of Business contacted Mary Junck, chairman and CEO of Lee Enterprises, about being the recipient of the annual Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award, she didn't say yes. In what is typical fashion for this corporate executive, she said that she didn't deserve the award. The success of Lee Enterprises, she said, was the result of many people at all levels throughout the company.

So when Junck received the Business Leadership Award Nov. 2 at a dinner and program at the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union, she accepted it along with several members of the Lee Enterprises leadership team who work together to make it one of the leading newspaper publishers in the U.S.

"We value our people, their development and their accomplishments. We're committed to our readers in our communities, and as our record shows, we have delivered strong financial results," Junck said.

This is the first time in the 25-year history of the award that a company's leadership team has been honored.

"In giving this award, the leadership of the Tippie College felt that this was an opportunity to illustrate to our students, alumni and donors, the importance of teamwork in the world of business. What better way to draw attention to this than to present the award, not to an individual, but to a team of professionals who together have built this 115-year-old newspaper company into the fourth largest in the country," said Gary Fethke, dean of the Tippie College of Business.

At the dinner, Junck discussed several strategies Lee uses to help make it a thriving enterprise. She shared a fold-out card that lists Lee's six priorities and corresponding action steps for 2006. The cards, given to all Lee employees, "keep us amazingly focused and working together towards our common priorities," Junck said.

The Lee priorities are:

--Grow revenue creatively and rapidly

--Increase readership and circulation

--Emphasize strong local news

--Accelerate our online growth

--Nurture employee development and achievement

--Exercise careful cost controls

Lee Enterprises, based in Davenport, Iowa, operates 58 daily newspapers in 23 states, along with rapidly growing online sites and more than 300 weeklies and specialty publications. With the acquisition of Pulitzer Inc. in June 2005, Lee became the fourth largest newspaper company in the country in terms of dailies owned, with 58, and grew from 12th to seventh largest in terms of total daily circulation.

Founded in 1890 in Ottumwa, Iowa, by A.W. Lee, most of Lee's newspapers trace their beginnings to the mid-1800s. Over the last three years, Lee has grown rapidly with the purchase of 15 newspapers from Howard Publications in 1992 and the acquisition of Pulitzer Inc. and its 14 daily newspapers in 2005. Its Iowa newspapers are the Muscatine Journal, Quad-City Times, Waterloo Courier, Mason City Globe Gazette and the Sioux City Journal. Lee stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE, and its equity market cap is $2 billion.

Junck joined Lee in 1999 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. She became president in 2000, chief executive officer in 2001 and chairman in January 2002. She is chairman of the Executive Committee of Lee's board of directors.

She previously held several senior executive positions at Times Mirror Company and served in leadership roles at such publications as The Baltimore Sun, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Miami Herald and Knight Ridder. She began her career at the Charlotte Observer.

Her history of community service includes her current roles on the board of directors of The Associated Press, the Newspaper Association of America and DavenportOne. She also is a member of the board of trustees of Putnam Museum in Davenport.

Junck is a native of Ogden, Iowa. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Valparaiso University in Indiana and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She and her husband, Ralph Gibson, have a son and a daughter.

The Iowa Business Leadership Award was established by the late C. Oscar Schmidt,  president of the Cincinnati Butchers' Supply Company, who wanted to honor his father by recognizing an outstanding Iowa business executive. His intention was both to honor an outstanding business leader and to provide a vehicle by which the students and faculty of the College could interact with successful career men and women. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the world of commerce in the belief that business leadership is essential to the economic progress of Iowa and the nation.

Past recipients of the Oscar C. Schmidt Iowa Business Leadership Award, first given in 1980, include: Tom Bedell, president and chairman of the board of Pure Fishing; Marjorie M. Scardino, chief executive of Pearson plc; William T. Kerr, chairman and chief executive officer of Meredith Corporation; and John Pappajohn, president of Equity Dynamics, Inc.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,