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Forum Communications Company
Search for Chief Operating Officer

The Organization

Forum Communications Company (FCC) is a 102-year-old, 5th generation family-owned, multimedia news company that provides news, entertainment and business services that inform and connect communities throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Headquartered in Fargo, ND, FCC operates 38 newspapers, 4 broadcast TV stations, specialty magazines, a radio station, marketing agency services and commercial printing operations. FCC provides quality community journalism through digital, print and broadcast platforms including The Forum, InForum and WDAY in Fargo; Grand Forks Herald; Rochester Post Bulletin, and Duluth News Tribune. Over 1,400 FCC employees work toward a common goal of delivering quality products and information to customers and viewers. FCC is at an exciting pivotal point as the Company moves to a digital, membership subscription based business model and establishes its place as a superior network of media and business expertise in the markets the Company serves.

Mission

We take pride in the profitable growth of Forum Communications Company through utilizing our collective assets to provide outstanding customer service, a strong commitment to our communities and providing opportunities for our employees.

Culture

Listen to others. Be Innovative. Engage Yourself. Have Fun. Work Together. Be Respectful. Find Balance.

Every location under the FCC umbrella has a culture-focused team that brings fun to work and helps overcome obstacles that get in the way of being the most productive, happiest and healthiest employee possible. FCC is a group of creative, dynamic people loving what they do. The Company culture is top of the line and is always evolving to better suit employees and their needs.

For more information about Forum Communications Company please visit: www.forumcomm.com

Position Summary

Under the leadership of CEO, Bill Marcil, Jr., and in response to ongoing industry and company cultural transformation, FCC has recently reorganized and enhanced its management team. As part of this transformation, FCC is embarking on a search for a COO.

The COO will direct, supervise, coordinate and assume overall management responsibility for all areas of the Company’s business. S/he will provide organizational and financial leadership with full profit and loss responsibility for the Enterprise. The individual will help develop and execute change management strategies, strengthen metrics and assist with acquisitions/partnerships while upholding the entrepreneurialism that has fueled the Company’s success to date.

Partnering with the CEO and the senior leadership team, the COO will play a key role in leading a digital, diversified growth strategy across FCC’s newspapers, specialty publications, broadcast TV and B2B services, and develop the Organization’s short- and long-term goals and strategies. This individual will also act as a right-hand leader to the CEO, developing and implementing the objectives and policies of the Organization to achieve overall company objectives, maximize operating results, ensure profitable growth and fulfillment of FCC’s commitment to the communities the Organization serves.

Reports to:

Chief Executive Officer/Publisher, Bill Marcil, Jr.

Direct Reports:

Finance Director
Human Resources Director
Vice President of Broadcast
Vice President Commercial Printing
Vice President of Newspapers
Vice President of Technology

Other Key Relationships:

Board of Directors
Chief of Staff
Chief Digital Marketing Officer
Vice President of Content Services

Position Location:

This leader will be based at FCC Headquarters in Fargo, North Dakota

Key Responsibilities

Enterprise Leadership

  • Work in concert with the CEO and other senior leaders to develop the overall strategic direction for the Business, evaluate alternative market strategies, identify competitive issues, capitalize on the core strengths of the Enterprise, and develop and implement operating plans to achieve the Company’s objectives.
  • Develop and ensure implementation and execution of short- and long-term strategies and annual business and operational plans that support and advance the business.
  • In partnership with the CEO, champion FCC’s strategic direction, mission and culture/values and ensure that processes, products and services are aligned.
  • Ensure communication, collaboration and resolution of issues in all areas of the Company.
  • As appropriate, represent FCC in the communities the Organization serves.

Operational Leadership

  • Lead, oversee and direct day-to-day operations in alignment with strategic and financial goals.
  • Oversee operational planning by examining and validating approaches, projects, resources required and forecast results.
  • Provide leadership, management and the vision necessary to ensure that divisions have the proposed operational procedures, controls, systems, capacity and people in place to effectively deliver projects and sustain growth.
  • Identify and capitalize on opportunities to leverage capabilities and synergies across business units and locations to enhance results.
  • Assess and coordinate the implementation of technology initiatives in collaboration with FCC’s Technology department to ensure the Organization is competitively positioned within the industry and marketplace.
  • Instill an environment of continuous improvement throughout the Organization. Lead the development and implementation of processes that drive improvement of key performance areas that most impact results.
  • Partner with other department leaders and/or staff to resolve issues as needed.
  • Provide timely, accurate and complete reports on the operating condition of FCC.
  • Bridge local and regional operations and provide a strong day-to-day leadership presence.
  • Remain informed about industry trends, advancements in technology and best practices.

Finance Leadership

  • Partner with CEO and Finance Director to recommend annual budget and forecasts and prudently manage the Organization’s resources within those budget guidelines, maximizing profitability to support a stable and predictable business.
  • Stay abreast of economic, business and financial conditions and the impact on the Organization’s policies and operations.
  • Compile, monitor, report and optimize company financial performance.
  • Control the Company costs and introduce tactical initiatives to minimize expense and maximize profitability.
  • In partnership with the Finance Director, ensure appropriate allocation of the Company’s capital to the Company’s priorities to meet short- and long-term objectives and ensure the continued financial viability of FCC’s operational units through sound fiscal management.
  • Oversee financial planning and analysis and annual budgeting processes to ensure the transparency, accessibility and accuracy of financial information.
  • Update and implement all necessary business/financial policies and accounting practices.
  • Ensure legal and regulatory compliance regarding all financial functions.

People Leadership

  • Supervise all operations including functional divisions, finance, technology and talent.
  • Build and develop a high-performing team that embraces high expectations, is results-oriented, collaborative, engaged, creative and promotes FCC’s vision, mission and culture.
  • Motivate, measure, evaluate, coach and mentor the management team and employee base to ensure optimum operating performance and perpetuate and further develop FCC’s positive culture.
  • Support and encourage a process for attracting and developing quality talent, building a talent pipeline and develop succession plans to ensure leadership continuity and stability over time.
  • Model the leadership necessary to make the Organization’s mission a success, while establishing and maintaining a leadership presence throughout the Organization to influence others.
  • Create, communicate and ensure implementation of the Organization’s vision, mission/value proposition and overall cultural direction.
  • Ensure employees in the Organization receive regular communications related to company strategy, financial results, culture and values in order to drive employee engagement.

Leadership Competencies

As a leader at Forum Communications Company the COO is expected to demonstrate the following leadership competencies:

Strategic Acumen: Understands the market, identifies trends and drives the organization to create comprehensive, competitive and breakthrough strategies. Prioritizes strategically, leading the organization to pursue and capitalize on the best opportunities.

Champions Innovation: Constructively challenges the prevailing wisdom or accepted ways of doing things. Pushes the organization to identify new approaches and uncover unconventional ideas that drive value using data and insights. Supports well-reasoned risks and new ideas.

Activates Change: Highly adaptable and able to quickly assess situations and determine how to move objectives forward. Actively breaks down cultural and operational barriers to change while communicating and reinforcing the objective in ways that help people understand and embrace it.

Disciplined Execution: Coordinates the establishment of plans to achieve objectives, adapting and adjusting near term plans to proactively anticipate what is next. Ensures adequate capabilities are present and effectively allocates and deploys resources, time and people.

Fosters Collaboration: Creates an environment that supports collaboration by facilitating communication and coordination across all parts of the organization. Builds an intentional and cohesive culture that aligns functional agendas and unites the team.

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be an optimistic and strategic operations and finance leader with a minimum of fifteen years of progressive leadership experience. S/he should have superb business acumen, exceptional understanding of operational and financial strategies, and a familiarity with the industries that impact FCC. The ideal candidate will be a future focused leader with a history of effective change management through a digital transformation. Previous success managing a multisite organization with similar scope and complexity is required. This should include full P&L management in a privately held, mid-sized company ($200MM revenues) or similar-sized division of a larger entity.

Demonstrated success in a digital member subscription setting is desired. Relevant industry backgrounds may include: newspaper, digital communications, technology, printing and online retail. Experience working with in a family-owned or owner-led business is helpful.

The ideal candidate will have the proven ability to develop actionable short- and long-term plans, outline metrics and manage to them to deliver measurable results. S/he will have a strong customer service orientation and a track record of implementing effective organizational systems and controls to support ongoing operations and steady growth.

S/he will have a growth mindset with the demonstrated ability to drive profitable growth, innovation and operational excellence. This individual will have experience managing the acquisition and integration of entities and brands. A proven track record of driving results while fostering a positive work environment is essential.

In addition to being an innovative leader with high energy and great interpersonal skills, the ideal candidate will be a proven strategic thinker who can analyze the Company’s products, markets, and customers and develop a compelling vision of what the Company can be in the future. S/he should be an excellent communicator able to articulate and energize the Organization around that vision.

The successful candidate will embrace technology and have a proven ability to implement tools and processes, to drive operational excellence and support sustainable business growth. The ability to optimize and standardize processes leading to consistent adoption of best practices is key to success in this role.

S/he will be a natural motivator of people, developer of talent and strong collaborator. A track record of successful hiring, coaching and mentoring high-performing individuals and multi-disciplinary teams is a must. The ability to assess and develop talent and develop chemistry with the existing leadership team is paramount.

This person will have a humble, roll-up-the-sleeves and approachable style. S/he will be a mission-driven leader with the appreciation of how quality community journalism transforms and connects communities.

A bachelor’s degree and/or fifteen or more years of related leadership experience with a demonstrated proficiency of math and analytical skills is essential. The successful candidate will personally possess traits that are consistent with FCC’s mission and culture. Excellent written, verbal and presentation skills are also requisite. The highest level of integrity and ethics is assumed.

David Lyman
dlyman@lymandoran.com
612-767-9481

Nora Klaphake
nklaphake@lymandoran.com
612-767-9488