Read this November 11, 2011 open letter from Joseph Ellingham, COO/CFO for the previous owners of the Delaware Gazette. “Gary is the most exceptional person that has ever worked for me… The properties that Gary was responsible for were all very profitable. Gary Merrell had absolutely nothing to do with the bankruptcy (of Brown Publishing).” The full letter is provided for everyone here:
November 11, 2011
Re: Gary Merrell
To Whom It May Concern:
I was the COO/CFO for Brown Publishing Company from November, 2000 until September, 2010. I was based at the company’s headquarters in Blue Ash, Ohio. I was Gary Merrell’s immediate supervisor for approximately 9 years, most of his tenure with Brown Publishing.
I have managed people for 35 years, and Gary is the most exceptional person that has ever worked for me. He is a tireless leader. He delivered exceptional results consistently. I always marveled at his ability to convey to his listener or reader the appropriate message to insure effective communication. He truly is a master communicator. His integrity is without question. His Group Publisher position included many challenges from the communities he served, his employees and from me and he never wavered from always doing the honest / correct action, no matter the personal sacrifice.
Brown Publishing had a number of operating groups, Gary led one of them, and his financial performance was always at the top of our company. He knew how to make excellent financial decisions. His group of media products was always very profitable. His employees respected him greatly and he developed a number of them to promotions and successful careers. He was adept at managing both Editors and Publishers, but also clerical workers and front line employees. He is humble and treats everyone with the greatest respect. And yet is one of the most gifted intellects I have encountered.
Of all the people I have come in contact with in my life, there is no one that I respect or admire more. I am honored that he still considers me a friend after our paths have diverted.
Brown Publishing filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Gary Merrell had absolutely nothing to do with the bankruptcy. The properties that Gary was responsible for were all very profitable. Brown Publishing’s bankruptcy was the result of ill timed acquisitions made by the corporate office just prior to the recession that resulted in an untenable debt load. Part of the strategy was to diversify into business to business publishing (we had always been a community based publisher) with acquisitions across the country, and these properties were devastated by the recession with dramatic reductions in revenues. The revenue streams in these business to business publications were almost completely based on commercial real estate and financial advertising which disappeared in the recession.