Changes to Forum's leadership announced

FARGO -- William C. Marcil, whose career as The Forum's publisher has spanned nearly 41 years, eight presidential administrations and countless major news stories, will step down on Dec. 1 and hand the reins to his son, Bill Marcil Jr.

FARGO -- William C. Marcil, whose career as The Forum's publisher has spanned nearly 41 years, eight presidential administrations and countless major news stories, will step down on Dec. 1 and hand the reins to his son, Bill Marcil Jr.

The 74-year-old Marcil is relinquishing his role as publisher and CEO but will remain chairman of the board of Forum Communications Co., The Forum's parent company.

Marcil made the announcement Tuesday. The Jamestown Sun, the Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson (N.D.) Press are also owned by Forum Communications Co.

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.

He grew up in the newspaper business and spent 19 years working in every department of The Forum with the thought that someday he would be publisher, he said.

"I just didn't know the timeline, and actually probably seven years ago I'd given up thinking about the timeline and got some things straightened out in my own life," he said.


The University of North Dakota graduate said he was "humbled" when approached about being publisher.

"I had a lot of ancestors that came before me and gave me this opportunity," he said, specifically thanking his father and mother, Jane. "And I felt like I was ready. I am ready."

Initially, his primary goal will be to reconnect with the paper's daily operations, he said.

"And the future of the business, I think, looks bright," he said, adding the company is well-positioned after years with his father and Case at the helm.

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 from UND in 1958. 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."

Mike Nowatzki is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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