FARGO, N.D. -- William C. Marcil, whose media career has spanned nearly 41 years, eight presidential administrations and countless major news stories at Forum Communications Co., will step down on Dec. 1 from two company roles.
The 74-year-old Marcil announced Tuesday he is relinquishing his role as publisher of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and CEO of Forum Communications Co., but he will continue as chairman of the private company's board of directors.
Forum Communications Co. owns the West Central Tribune of Willmar and other newspapers, television and radio stations and printing companies in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Marcil is handing the publisher role at The Forum to his son, Bill Marcil Jr.
In another change, Lloyd G. Case, the company's president and chief operating officer, on Monday was named CEO and will remain in that position until December 2013, when he will retire.
Marcil called the changes "a milestone in the history of this company."
"When you've got a family-owned business and you've got a child that's capable of coming back and running the business, it just makes everybody feel really happy in the family," he told Forum employees, with Marcil Jr. and Case at his side.
Marcil became The Forum's publisher on Nov. 1, 1969, succeeding his father-in-law, Norman D. Black Jr. He said it will be difficult to leave the role but the timing was right.
"It's been a rewarding job," he said. "I've never had a boring moment in my entire life. ... My health is still good. I still have a passion for the business. But I feel comfortable now that Bill is coming on board and he's completely capable of taking over."
With his appointment, 46-year-old Marcil Jr. will become the fifth-generation family member to serve as publisher of The Forum.
He was a photo intern at The Forum in 1987 and served as the newspaper's general manager from 1997 to February 2000. Later that year, he was named development director for Forum Communications.
Marcil Jr. has been away from the newspaper's daily operations for seven years while running a separate film production company and book publishing business with his wife, Chris Linnares. He said he's a voracious reader of news, both in print and online, and has continued to follow industry trends closely.
Case had planned to retire at the end of 2011, but he agreed to stay on during the leadership transition.
Case joined Forum Publishing Co. in 1982 as controller. He was named vice president/chief financial officer in 1986, and in 1999 he became Forum Communications' vice president of newspapers and vice president/chief operating officer. The company's board of directors elected him president in 2006.
"I have worked side by side with Bill Marcil for 28 years, so it is an honor to finish my career as president and CEO for the Marcil family," he said. "I have the greatest admiration for Bill and Bill Jr., and I am so proud to have Bill Jr. step into the publisher's role of the largest newspaper in North Dakota."
Born in Rolette, N.D., Marcil grew up in nearby Sherwood, just south of the Canadian border. He graduated in 1958 from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. In 1960, after serving in the U.S. Army and Reserve, he married Jane Black, daughter of Norman D. Black Jr., according to Forum archives.
Marcil joined the retail advertising sales staff at The Forum in 1961 and held positions in every department except editorial before becoming publisher.
In his continuing role with the company, Marcil said he will focus on "more of a visionary-type of strategic planning."
"This is a strong company, but there are a lot of challenges going forward, too, in the distribution of news and information, and the Forum Communications Co. is at the cutting edge of that," he said. "So, there are a lot of things that'll keep me busy. I'm not going to go away."
Nowatzki writes for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.