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Morrison welcomes Clark-Johnson

April 29, 2009

Sue Clark-Johnson, former president of the newspaper division of Gannett Co. Inc., the nation’s largest diversified news and information firm, has been appointed as executive director of ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Clark-Johnson, a longtime Arizona businesswoman, executive and leader, begins at the Morrison Institute May 1. After an intensive national search, Clark-Johnson replaces former Morrison director Rob Melnick, who left the position after more than 20 years of service to become executive dean of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

“Sue brings a unique energy and talent to social and cultural progress,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “We are very excited to have this level of talent and commitment working for the future of Arizona.”

As a former member of the Morrison Institute’s board of advisers, Clark-Johnson has long demonstrated support for the organization’s public policy research and activities.

“Sue Clark-Johnson’s connections to and enthusiasm for the Morrison Institute are well-established,” says board chairman Chris Herstam. “Her knowledge of Arizona issues, as well as her journalistic talents, will be of great value.”

The Morrison Institute bridges the gap between academic scholarship and public policy through research, evaluation and education for public- and private-sector clients.

The Morrison Institute is in ASU’s College of Public Programs.

Clark-Johnson retired from the Gannett Co. last May after 41 years in news and executive leadership roles. With a combined circulation of about 4 million, Gannett owns more than 85 daily newspapers. The newspaper division is Gannett’s largest, with about 80 Web sites and 1,000 weekly newspapers, shoppers and magazines.

“Sue’s experience, commitment to the future of Arizona, understanding of key policy issues and strategic acumen will advance Morrison’s quality, reach and impact,” says Debra Friedman, university vice president and dean of the College of Public Programs.

Prior to her role as president of the Gannett newspaper division, Clark-Johnson was chairman and chief executive officer of Phoenix Newspapers Inc., as well as senior group president of Gannett’s Pacific Newspaper Group, with oversight responsibility for 32 companies throughout the West.

Her career has been acknowledged with lifetime achievement awards from the Washington Women’s Center and the National Association of Female Executives, as well as a distinguished lifetime achievement award for diversity efforts from the National Association of Minority Media Executives and the Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and is on the board of directors of Pinnacle West, the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity to lead the Morrison Institute for Public Policy,” Clark-Johnson says. “Morrison has a highly respected reputation in Arizona, in large measure due to its excellent research and leadership role in this state. It’s my hope and expectation that, working with the community, we can not only continue that fine tradition, but also expand and grow it as well.”