PORTLAND — MaineToday Media has named Dale A. Duncan, a former reporter and longtime newspaper executive, to the newly created position of president, effective July 15.

Duncan, a 56-year-old native of Detroit, Mich., joined MaineToday Media in 2010 as an independent contractor in charge of covering the state’s gubernatorial and congressional elections.

In December, he was named president and CEO of two MaineToday Media publications, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and Morning Sentinel in Waterville.

MaineToday Media also owns The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the weekly Coastal Journal in Bath and related websites.

MaineToday Media CEO Richard L. Connor said in a letter to employees Friday that Duncan had “an immediate and positive impact” on the company’s newspapers and business in Central Maine.

He said Duncan will keep responsibility of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, but will now be “spending more time in Portland helping me run the company.”

Duncan was publisher of The Indianapolis Star from 1998 to 2000, after spending most of his career with Capital Cities/ABC, which owned newspapers in Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

From 1986 to 1994, Duncan was publisher of The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Connor preceded Duncan as publisher of The Times Leader and later bought the paper. Connor’s now The Times Leader’s owner, editor and publisher.

MaineToday Media also announced recently that Michelle Lester has been promoted to senior vice president of advertising.

Connor said that the staff changes will let him focus more on strategy and new business opportunities for MaineToday Media.

“The new titles represent different organizational responsibilities which will allow me to still be directly involved in day-to-day newspaper operations of all of our papers, but also to spend more time on strategy, acquisitions and the development of new lines of business, such as those in the digital area,” Connor said. “The changes allow the company to benefit from specific strengths in management and sales that both Dale and Michelle bring to the table.”

“We are making this company a sales-focused company, and Michelle is key to that. We already know how to produce excellent, superior content. Sales is now a key,” Connor said. “Dale is more process-oriented than I am, and I’ve known him closely through virtually every step of his career development. There are disciplines he will bring that are needed to take any acquisition to another level.”

“Our company has an arms-length relationship with my newspapers in Pennsylvania where (Duncan) followed me as publisher,” Connor said. “His relationship with our president there, Prashant Shitut, and Prashant’s knowledge of Maine from helping me drive the Maine acquisition give me and both companies great management talent and strength in tandem.”

MaineToday Media has made other senior staff changes in recent months.

New MaineToday Media executives include Chief Financial Officer Patrick Sweeney, Steve Galligan, president of the digital media division, and Stewart Wright, director of information technology.

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