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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, December 1, 2023


J'Ada M. Finch-Sheen has been named chief executive officer of the Daily News Publishing Co., which has cut all its ties to former CEO Mike Middlesworth and his consulting group.
Finch-Sheen, a former V.I. attorney general, replaces Thomas Minnich, who remains as chief operating officer of Emerging Communications, the parent company for businessman Jeffrey Prosser's extensive communications holdings.
Middlesworth had been brought in by Prosser in January, immediately after he bought the newspaper, to be CEO and executive editor. Middlesworth replaced CEO Ronald Dillman, who resigned, and Executive Editor Penny Feuerzeig, who was demoted to editorial page editor.
Middlesworth is associated with the Cole Group, a newspaper consulting firm that Prosser hired to oversee the transition from former owner Gannett Co. Inc. and upgrade and integrate the equipment for Prosser's communications companies, including the cable television companies on all three islands.
Minnich had abruptly replaced Middlesworth as CEO a few months ago, but Middlesworth remained executive editor until Dec. 18 when J. Lowe Davis assumed that post. Middlesworth reportedly was due to return to St. Thomas in early January to continue working on the equipment upgrade.
In a memo to "all staff" Wednesday, Finch-Sheen said, "I have been informed that, effective immediately, the Daily News Publishing Co. has terminated any and all relationships with Mike Middlesworth and the Cole Group."
Middlesworth, reached in Hawaii where he lives and is vacationing, said he knew nothing about the decision to end the Cole Group's work with Prosser's companies and couldn't comment on what it meant or what prompted it.
"I don't know anything about it," he said.
Finch-Sheen's memo to staffers continued: "You are instructed that, until you are advised differently, you may not contact Mike Middlesworth or any member of the Cole Group for advice or consultation on behalf of the Daily News or any of its publications."
Finch-Sheen will manage the daily business concerns of those publications, which include Island Trader, Nautical Scene, the Virgin Islander and Focus magazine.

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