Robert Scripps, the last third-gen at media group EH Scripps, has died aged 94. His death means the family trust, of which he was a member, will be dissolved.
However, while the trust no longer exists, the Scripps family will continue to retain control. A statement by the company, which owns newspapers as well as television stations, said all the assets held by the Edward W Scripps Trust – which include common and voting shares – will be transferred to the next generation of the family.
Robert, who served as director of the family business from 1949 until 1997, was vice-chairman of the trust, which holds around 90% of the voting power at the firm.
He first joined the company in the late 1920s on the eve of the country’s Great Depression. In 1941, Robert joined the US army and within days of the attack on Pearl Harbour was shipped out of the country to Guadalcanal – one of the Solomon Islands. Following World War II, Robert returned to the Cincinnati-based family firm.
With the termination of the trust, a new agreement will be signed between family members, said the release, which will be effective for 10 years and can be renewed for additional 10-year periods.
The agreement aims to keep control of the company in family hands – if members want to sell their voting shares, it has to be first offered to other relatives and then the business, before it can be sold to outsiders.
Fourth-gen Nackey Scagliotti, chairwoman of the board and a great-granddaughter of the group’s founder, said the family supports the “company’s mission, editorial independence and commitment to excellence in its products and services”. She added: “This is a difficult and emotional time for our family as the final member of our parents’ generation has passed into history.”
Other fourth-gens, Mary Peirce and Paul Scripps, and one fifth-gen Anne La Dow serve as directors at the family-controlled group.
Rich Boehne, non-family president and chief executive, said the transition of ownership to the next generation will be “smooth” and the group will “rely on the support of our founder’s great-grandchildren to help us fulfil the company’s mission and strategic objectives”.
Founded in 1878 by Edward Scripps, the business had revenues of $729 million (€559 million) in 2011. It is also well known for conducting the Scripps annual spelling bee competition in the US, first started in 1925.
Robert is survived by 11 children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.