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story.lead_photo.caption Todd Nelson (left) and Sandy Thompson. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

Todd A. Nelson, president of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, announced his retirement Monday, effective April 1.

Long-time Finance Director Sandy Thompson has also announced her retirement plans. Her retirement date depends on finding and training a replacement, she said.

"I graduated on a Saturday and went to work for a newspaper on Monday," Nelson told the newspaper's staff at a meeting this morning. "That is the essence of my story."

Nelson worked at newspapers and in publishing positions from Texas to Nebraska before coming to Northwest Arkansas in 2014.

"This is a beautiful place that's very progressive, has tons of activities and is a great newspaper market," Nelson said of the region. "It's my favorite stop, and I've lived in a lot of places. It's really, really hard to leave."

Nelson, 61, and his wife, Kim, plan to move to Nebraska to live near their first grandchild, who was born in June, he said.

Before taking the Northwest Arkansas position, Nelson was the regional publisher for Lee Enterprises' central Illinois properties starting in 2011. That position included oversight of daily newspapers in four cities in Illinois: Bloomington, Decatur, Mattoon and Charleston. He worked a total of 23 years for Lee.

"Todd has served our industry at a high level, including five years as the president of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette," Mark Lane, president of WEHCO Media's newspaper division, said today. WEHCO is the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's parent company. "Under his leadership, the NWADG has had many successes and accomplishments. I wish Todd great happiness and health in his retirement," Lane said.

The business that is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published five different daily newspapers in the region when he arrived, Nelson said. Creating the single Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette brand that is also a quality product is the newspaper's most important accomplishment during his time here, Nelson said.

"This newspaper has more content of any paper of its size and more than most newspapers in the United States," Nelson said. He noted the newspaper has won the Arkansas Press Association's statewide general excellence award for the past two years.

Thompson went to work as chief finance director at what was then the Northwest Arkansas Times in 1983. She stayed with the paper through a series of owners.

"We work for a company that understands the importance of producing a quality newspaper," she said. "It has been my honor to work for them and with the employees who produce a new product every day."

Thompson is also retiring to spend more time with her grandchildren, she said.

Replacements for Nelson and Thompson have not yet been announced.

Business on 02/05/2019

Print Headline: Newpaper president to retire

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