Fresno Bee Publisher Tom Cullinan retiring

Tom Cullinan
Tom Cullinan

Tom Cullinan, publisher and president of The Fresno Bee since 2012, is retiring Nov. 3.

He made the announcement Thursday afternoon. Leaders of McClatchy, The Bee’s parent company, said they will conduct a search for a replacement.

Cullinan, 66, has been with The Bee since 1984 and has worked in the newspaper industry for 47 years, following his father’s footsteps. His duties have included overseeing The Tribune in San Luis Obispo and the Sierra Star in Oakhurst.

He said he’s most proud of The Bee’s work on Kids Day, the annual fundraiser with ABC30 that has generated nearly $8.5 million for Valley Children’s Hospital in 30 years.

“I have been fortunate to have a dedicated and talented staff that have worked tirelessly to improve the quality and performance of the papers,” Cullinan said. “It has truly been my honor and privilege to serve The Fresno Bee and McClatchy.”

McClatchy executives lauded Cullinan for his commitment to journalism and the community.

“Tom’s been a fine ambassador for McClatchy in Fresno and across California,” said Mark Zieman, McClatchy’s vice president of operations. “He’s embraced our future as a digital-driven media company, but has never wavered from The Bee’s 95-year mission of providing engaging and essential public service journalism. He’s a great leader and we’ll miss him.”

Gary Wortel, McClatchy’s West Regional publisher, said, “Tom has been a tremendous advocate for our media company, building a strong team in Fresno and San Luis Obispo, while supporting journalism efforts locally and in California.”

Cullinan is a Detroit native whose father was circulation director of the Detroit Free Press for 40 years. That’s where Cullinan got his start while still a student at Wayne State University. He rose through the ranks at the Free Press to state circulation director before joining The Bee.

In Fresno, Cullinan held management positions within the Circulation Department before becoming a Fresno Bee vice president in 2000. He was promoted to publisher and president of The Bee in December 2012.

Cullinan and his wife Joanne, who owns Cullinan Education Center, have two grown children and six grandchildren.