'Two Top UPI Executives Leave'

Here's a story by George Garneau from the April 9, 1988, edition of Editor & Publisher:

Management Restructuring Begins as New Business Plan Unveiled

Two top United Press International executives have left their positions in the past two weeks.

Charles Hollingsworth, who joined UPI 14 months ago with several managers from The Washington Post, left as senior vice president for marketing and sales at the troubled news agency, a day before UPI announced its new business plan.

Joe Domek, senior vice president for technology and communications, left a few days later. Domek's departure was announced over the UPI message wire by UPI president Paul Steinle on April 1. The departure of Domek was "by mutual agreement."

The news about Hollingsworth came from Steinle in a message March 28: "Due to certain anticipated changes in UPI," Steinle said, Hollingsworth "will be leaving the company effective at the end of business today." A restructuring and business plan was announced the following day.

Asked if Hollingsworth quit or was fired, Steinle said, "No comment. Get it from him." Hollingworth did not return several phone calls to his office.

Steinle's message said he would oversee the marketing department with the help of Amber Gordon, chairman of Quest Business Agency and a member of the team brought in to reverse UPI's financial decline. Quest does public relations for Infotechnology Inc., the venture capital firm that formed WNW Group Inc. to take over management of UPI from Mario Vazquez Rana.

Steinle said no other personnel changes were anticipated in marketing and sales "as a result of this organizational change."

Hollingsworth, who had worked at the Post almost 20 years and was national sales manager when he joined UPI in January 1987, called is work at UPI "an extraordinary privilege."

During his 14-month tenure, UPI was plagued by so many newspapers canceling service, present and former executives said, that 1987 marked the first time in UPI history that its revenue from broadcasters exceeded revenue from newspapers domestically.

Hollingsworth was the last of a management team hired by former UPI president Milton Benjamin, a one-time Post staffer who hired Ben Cason and Barry Sussman from the Post and Kim Willenson, former Post reporter, from Newsweek.

Benjamin, whom Vazquez hired in November 1986 as UPI president from Benjamin's public relations firm, resigned in April 1987 over disagreements with Vazquez. Vazquez relinquished control of the company to NWN last February, but retains majority ownership.

One former UPI executive said that Benjamin's resignation -- after several years of revolving doors in the management suites -- ended UPI hopes of retaining major newspapers.

"That was the end. After that I don't think there was anything Hollingsworth or anyone else could have done that would have helped," the executive said. "That put the place into a nosedive it never recovered from . . . Hollingsworth was in the unfortunate position of being on the bridge when all this happened."

Domek was replaced on an interim basis by Kevin Hipps, a member of the new management's transition team.

A UPI spokesman said that when the new management took over the wire service in February, Domek had indicated his intention to leave in June.