Tampa Tribune executive editor Richard "Duke" Maas said Thursday he will be leaving the newspaper at the end of this month.
In an e-mail to employees, Maas said that he and Tampa Tribune/TBO.com publisher William Barker mutually agreed to the move "after much consideration and conversation" between them.
"It is time for a fresh perspective for all involved, and I will be moving on after November 30 to find my next challenge. Until then, I will do everything I can to contribute to our future success," Maas wrote in the email.
"I am proud to have been a part of this newsroom family for the past 12 years and for all that we have accomplished in our journalist efforts during that time."
Maas, 59, was named executive editor in May after serving as the newspaper's managing editor since 2005. As executive editor, he was responsible for the paper's entire news operation.
In October, the Tribune and its website, TBO.com, were sold by Media General Inc. of Virginia to Tampa Media Group Inc., a local company owned by Los Angeles-based Revolution Capital Group.
Maas said the decision to leave the paper came after more than a year of highly personal reflection and a personal faith journey.
"Last summer, I passed a church, saw the words on their sign and turned around to take a picture," Maas said. "It said, 'If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.' "
Maas said several factors then came together for him. The strategic work of reorganizing the Tribune was largely done. The role of executive editor was less necessary when the Tribune was no longer owned by a larger corporation. And he had positioned several other editors to take over.
"This was not about someone putting a gun to my head and saying 'do this or else,' or forcing me out," Maas said. "This is looking at my life, where I'm at and the opportunity for me to look for new challenges – and allow me to leave an organization at an opportune moment."
The person now in charge of the Tribune's newsroom is Ken Koehn, 49, who has had several editor posts at the paper. Most recently, he was second-in-command in the newsroom as assistant managing editor. He is now the managing editor.
"Amid all the dynamics and the change of ownership, we had the realization that Ken already operates as the managing editor," Barker said.
That also helps the newsroom invest more in "reporting horsepower," Barker said. "Our commitment to this market is stronger than it's ever been."