American announces leadership transitions

Cyndi Wood
Kathy Cook

ELLSWORTH — City native Cyndi Wood and Kathy Cook, formerly of Old Town, are assuming top management positions at The Ellsworth American.

Wood, 33, will succeed Stephen Fay as managing editor of the newspaper. Cook, 43, will assume the post of general manager of The American and its sister paper, the Mount Desert Islander. That job is now held by Terry Carlisle.

Fay, 69, is retiring at the end of May; Carlisle, 63, plans to retire in July.

Lisa DeSisto, chief executive officer of Maine Today Media, whose parent organization purchased The American and Islander in September, said she is pleased with the transitions.

“We are fortunate we have a strong bench at The Ellsworth American,” she said. “[Former owner/Publisher] Alan Baker built a great team at the top but also made sure the next generation of leaders was ready to go. We are fortunate to have both Terry and Stephen on board with us through mid-2019 to hand over the reins to Cyndi Wood as managing editor and Kathy Cook as the new general manager. We are thankful for the many years of service of both Terry and Stephen and their continued commitment to set up the EA and MDI for success for years to come.”

Terry Carlisle
Stephen Fay

Ellsworth native Carlisle has been with the paper for 40 years, starting as an assistant to former Editor/Publisher James Russell Wiggins. Fay, a Californian, joined The American in 1996.

An Ellsworth High School graduate, Cyndi Wood went on to earn a journalism degree from Boston University. Her career with The American began during her college years, when she spent two summers interning for the newspaper’s recreation supplement, “Out & About.” She was hired as a reporter assigned to the Bucksport beat in 2007. She later covered Ellsworth and was promoted to the position of new media editor in 2012. In that role, she oversaw digital content across multiple channels and orchestrated the launch of the award-winning websites and in 2014. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband, Kevin, and their 2-year-old son, Caleb.

“I’m thrilled and honored to become the next editor of this newspaper,” Wood said. “The American has been an integral part of this community for 168 years. It’s been a part of my own life for as far back as I can remember. My father brought it home every week.

“Our commitment to in-depth reporting on the local issues that matter to Hancock County residents remains unchanged.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to retiring Managing Editor Stephen Fay, who has been my mentor these past 12 years,” Wood said. “He is a man and journalist of great integrity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard him remind reporters, including myself, that they need to be confident about every word they write. In an age of public distrust in the media, The American continues to be lauded for its fairness and accuracy.”

Kathy Cook is a native of Old Town. She attended the University of Maine at Orono, where she earned her degree in business administration. Before joining The American in September 2016, Cook spent more than 10 years at the Bangor Daily News as bureau office manager and circulation administrator. In those roles, she was responsible for the daily functions of a bureau office and circulation bookkeeping and reporting. Prior to that, she held positions of media planner and analyst for an advertising and PR firm in Boston. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband, Brent, their two children, Olivia and Michael, and their dog, Momo.

“I am honored and excited to be named general manager of such strong community-focused newspapers such as The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.”

“Terry Carlisle has been a wonderful mentor and leader in the community. I have learned so much from her and am thankful for this opportunity. I work with an amazing team and we will continue with our commitment to in-depth local reporting on issues that matter to the community.”

Both Fay and Carlisle will continue on in their jobs until summer, though both plan to gradually divest themselves of their responsibilities until the transitions are complete.

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