Editorial: Change rings in with the new year

Editorial: Change rings in with the new year

Each year, January 1 simultaneously offers the opportunity to reflect on what has happened before and to anticipate what’s next.

It’s a time to take stock, set goals and move forward. As we step into 2013, the Times has significant changes to announce.
Our successful and beloved publisher, Patrice Culligan, has decided to step down and spend more time at her Florida home. It’s no exaggeration to say the Times would not exist today without Culligan.

When she took the reins in May 2010, the Times was at its nadir. In her two-and-a-half years at the helm, she has increased sales by more than 40 percent and put the paper on firm footing for the future.

Fortunately, Culligan is not leaving us entirely: She will remain our lead sales representative and assume a new role as publisher emeritus. Under this title, Culligan will continue to assist the Times’ leadership through an advisory board that she will chair.

We have decided to move forward with a slightly restructured leadership team. Denise Dunbar, managing partner and former editorial page editor at the Times, will assume the role of publisher. A 27-year resident of Alexandria, Dunbar has deep roots in the community and has been increasingly involved in the newspaper’s operations during the past four years.

Derrick Perkins, formerly executive editor and managing editor, becomes the editor-in-chief. Perkins has proven during the past few months that he is as adept at handling former editorial duties as he was as the paper’s lead reporter.

Finally, we are pleased to announce the addition of Kristen Essex as director of sales and marketing. Essex, a city resident, has strong sales experience and many good ideas for the future.

While we are sorry to see Culligan step down as publisher, we are glad for the chance to say a heartfelt thanks for her service. We also look to the future with excitement. The Times remains committed to being Alexandria’s best community newspaper, with first-rate coverage of news, sports and interesting people in our midst.

Our opinion pages will continue to be a forum for discussion on local issues, and we will not shy away from taking stands on difficult issues. And we will continue to bring our readers information on local restaurants, shops and real estate through our advertisements. Keep an eye out for tweaks the new team may make in the coming months.

Change itself is a neutral concept — neither good nor bad. How we handle change is what makes it either positive or negative. As we move into the new year, we would love to hear from you, our readers, on what you would like to see more of in the paper. After all Alexandria, this is your Times.