William Blethen, The Seattle Times Co.'s treasurer for more than three decades and a member of the family that has owned the paper for 111...
William Blethen, The Seattle Times Co.’s treasurer for more than three decades and a member of the family that has owned the paper for 111 years, will retire June 29.
He will be the second family member to leave the company this year. His brother, Robert Blethen, a Times vice president, retired last month.
“Bob kind of inspired me,” said William Blethen, 62. “I want to do some other things.”
Those “other things” include travel, sailing and community work, he said.
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The settlement this spring of The Times’ four-year legal dispute with The Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, also played a role in his decision, Blethen said; he didn’t want to retire while it was still unresolved.
He said he will remain on the boards of The Seattle Times Co.; the family-controlled Blethen Corp., which owns a majority interest in the newspaper company; and Times-owned newspapers in Yakima, Walla Walla and Maine.
Blethen, a cousin of Times Publisher Frank Blethen, came to work for The Times full time in 1969 as a management intern, rotating among departments. A certified public accountant with a master’s degree in business administration, he gravitated toward finance, becoming treasurer in 1974.
He also is the company’s corporate risk manager and played a central role in establishing the Fund for the Needy, The Times’ holiday-season fundraising drive. Blethen has overseen the annual campaign since the fund’s inception 28 years ago.
Blethen, a Bellevue resident, said he will remain on the board of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, where he also serves as treasurer.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or firstname.lastname@example.org