Top Daily Herald executive Baumann retires, ends 56 years with company
Daniel E Baumann, one of the architects of the Daily Herald's rise from a community weekly to a suburban powerhouse, has announced his retirement as chairman emeritus of the Paddock Publications Inc. board of directors.
In relinquishing his position on the board, Baumann ended a long association with the company that dated back to 1964 when he joined what was then the weekly Herald as a reporter.
He grew to become a key partner with late owner Stuart R. Paddock Jr. in shepherding the company through a period of strong growth in the second half of the 20th century and mentored Douglas K. Ray, the current publisher, CEO and board chairman.
Baumann stepped down from full-time status in 2002 but remained active with the company as its board chairman until he moved into a role as chairman emeritus in 2010 to further the transition to Ray's succession as chairman.
He continued to act as a board director and consultant on operational issues, and played a part in the work in 2018 to convert ownership of the company to its employees.
"I will be forever indebted to Paddock Publications for the many opportunities it has given me, beginning 56 years ago as a beat reporter," Baumann said. "I am proud to have had this long association with a company which then, and now, reflects the highest standards of purpose and conduct.
"That tone was set by the founding family and has continued during periods of growth and periods of challenge. At a time when many communities have become local news deserts, it is a tribute to the staff, the executive team and the directors of the company that they have retained the commitment of the founding family."
Baumann led Paddock Publications as it transformed from a successful-but-imperiled group of weeklies into an information company comprising the third largest daily newspaper in the state of Illinois, a successful online publication, a journal of news for suburban Latinos and a host of regular specialty news and information products.
He began taking on leadership roles by 1967, was named editor in 1975, then become general manager in 1982 and chief operating officer in 1988. In 1998, he was appointed chief executive officer and in 1999, publisher. He was named board chairman in 2002.
"From reporter to editor to the key executive of Paddock Publications," Ray said in a memo to the staff, "he made an impact at every level -- from award-winning reporter and editor to business executive guiding the Daily Herald from a small suburban weekly to one of the finest newspaper companies in the country. Through it all, Dan never wavered from his commitment to excellence and set a high standard for all of us."
A native of Milwaukee, Baumann earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
His studies included concentrations in Russian language and culture. At one time, he aspired to become a foreign correspondent, but in an interview in 2010, he said his ambitions were changed by the ongoing growth and opportunity at Paddock and by the recognition that, "The quiet, tree-lined streets of Arlington Heights seemed like a better place to raise a family."