Why is Gannett’s CFO Jumping Ship?

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI) CFO Paul Saleh has stepped down to take up a position at services provider Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE:CSC). In a statement, Gannett said Saleh’s resignation was effective immediately, at the same time naming Michael Hart as interim CFO while the board seeks a replacement for Saleh, who has been with the company since November 2010.

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Gannett Co., which publishes 82 daily newspapers, including USA Today, and was last month the largest newspaper chain in the United States by circulation, reported a decline in total revenue in the first quarter as advertisers shifted spending to digital media. The McLean, Virginia-based publisher noted in its statement simply that Saleh left to accept a position with a Fortune 200 company.

Separately, Computer Sciences Corp. announced the appointment of Saleh as its vice president and CEO, effective May 23. Saleh will succeed Michael Mancuso, who announced his retirement in February.

“Paul Saleh is exactly what we had in mind when we set out to find a new CFO. He has been a CFO for Fortune 500 companies during periods of transformation and brings exceptional experience in corporate controls and accounting discipline,” said CSC chief executive Mike Lawrie.

Saleh most recently served as Gannett’s senior VP and CFO, having joined the company from Menza Partners LLC, which he founded. Prior to that, he served as CFO at Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) from 2005 to 2008. Before Sprint and Nextel Communications merged, Saleh was executive vice president and CFO of Nextel from 2001 to 2005. And earlier to that, he was senior vice president and CFO of Walt Disney International (NYSE:DIS), where he held other senior financial positions since 1997. Saleh before that had a 12-year career at Honeywell (NYSE:HON), where he was VP and treasurer from 1994 to 1997.

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