Ken Riddick, The Modesto Bee’s president and publisher, was named Tuesday to the same position at The Fresno Bee.
It’s a return to his roots for Riddick, 60, who first joined McClatchy in 1995 as picture editor at The Fresno Bee.
Riddick demonstrated great digital leadership at The Modesto Bee, as evidenced by digital-only growth of 44 percent over two years. Modesto has been one of the company’s leaders in audience growth as well, and he recently completed The Bee’s move to a new location that beautifully reflects the future workspace of a digital media company.
Riddick begins his new role in Fresno on Monday. He also will be president and publisher of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo and continue as president and publisher of the Merced Sun-Star.
“I am truly excited and humbled to be headed back to Fresno,” Riddick said. “The chance to return and contribute to the digital future of these three media companies is a dream come true.”
During his first stint in Fresno, Riddick was promoted to managing editor for new media in 1999 and named director of interactive media that same year. He left The Bee in 2003, promoted within McClatchy.
He replaces Fresno publisher Tom Cullinan., who is retiring Friday.
“Ken has been an incredible publisher,” Modesto Bee editor Joe Kieta said. “He has connected so well with the greater Modesto community and has moved The Bee forward in so many ways, culminating in our new downtown office. I sure am going to miss working with him, but I’m happy that he has this opportunity to return to Fresno.”
Gary Wortel, McClatchy’s west regional publisher, said the company will move quickly to replace Riddick.
“I know the greater Modesto community will miss Ken as he has been an exceptional leader of the Modesto Bee and a great advocate for local journalism and support of the business community,” he said.
Originally from Texas, Riddick holds a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His wife, Catherine, also is a former Fresno Bee editor, having served as assistant managing editor, weekend editor and projects editor. The Riddicks have been married 29 years.
“Cathy and I will always be grateful for the many friends we have made in this wonderful community of Modesto,” Riddick said.