Seattle Times Sharon Chan to leave for New York Times, Seattle Times names Kati Erwert senior vice president

For Immediate Release — Jun. 28, 2019
Lindsay Taylor, Consumer Marketing Manager

SEATTLE — Vice President of Innovation, Product and Development Sharon Pian Chan announced today she is leaving The Seattle Times to join The New York Times. The Seattle Times will reorganize, adding product responsibility to Kati Erwert VP of Marketing and Public Service who is also being promoted to Senior VP. Business Intelligence, formerly under Chan, has been assigned to Senior Director of Audience Curtis Huber. Development for community funding of public service journalism will become a stand-alone function reporting to the Publisher. A search for a VP of Development is underway.

Chan has been the leader in developing The Seattle Times’ unique innovation of new funding sources to support quality journalism. The Times’ portfolio of Community Funded Public Service Journalism includes three active projects: the 8-year-old Education Lab, 3-year-old Traffic Lab and 2-year-old Project Homeless. Additionally, The Seattle Times has recently launched an Investigative Journalism Fund in partnership with Seattle Foundation and plans to build one of the largest regional investigative teams in the country.

Chan began her journalism career at The Seattle Times in 1999 as a reporting intern, then became a staff reporter. In 2012, she became associate opinions editor/digital where her duties included creating a public “engagement” voice as part of the Education Lab grant. In 2014 she began reporting to the Times’ publisher as the Director of Journalism Initiatives and then as VP for Innovation, Product & Development in 2017.

As the country’s leading newspaper professional in Community Funding of Public Service Journalism Chan is taking a wealth of experience and unique knowledge to The New York Times as they continue to expand on their many innovations and great success in a challenging but critically important time in America's Free Press crisis.

Said publisher Frank Blethen, “Sharon grew up at The Seattle Times. We will miss her but she will always be part of The Seattle Times family.”

"Way back in 2011, Frank Blethen had a vision for local, independent journalism supported by the philanthropy of individuals, foundations and strategic business partnerships," Chan said. "This opportunity represents the fact that the world's top newspaper believes The Seattle Times is onto something big."

“Through the last several years we have retooled our senior management team to reflect the skills required for our 123-year-old public service journalism company to have emerged from the Great Recession as a new, innovative Free Press model,” Blethen said. “While we will miss Sharon Chan we have a strong team and are in a position to reassign the product and business intelligence parts of her portfolio. Few newspapers have a product function. Ours was an experiment that has become a focal point to drive innovation at The Seattle Times.”

Erwert has worked closely with Chan on strategic projects and innovations. With Huber, she is part of a highly successful team focused on audience revenue and subscriptions. That team is responsible for maintaining the largest paid print distribution on the West Coast save for Los Angeles. It is growing digital subscriptions at one of the fastest rates in the country. Erwert also has been responsible for The Seattle Times’ unique public service voice. This voice focuses on community education and advocacy. Its major focus since its 2011 inception has been on education reform.

Erwert said of the promotion, “Adding product is an exciting opportunity to build on the foundation of the good work of this team under Sharon’s leadership. I welcome the challenge of delivering on our promise to multiple generations of readers accessing Seattle Times journalism where and when they want it.”

Erwert joined the Times in 2007 after working in commercial radio for several years. She’s held several positions in marketing in her tenure, most recently being promoted in 2018 to Vice President of Marketing and Public Service. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and lives in Shoreline with her husband and two daughters.

Huber is a longtime Seattle Times employee holding various roles in circulation over the past two decades. Huber was named Senior Director in 2018. He oversees home delivery, customer service and audience revenue. Under Huber’s guidance The Seattle Times has had stable print audience revenue and significant digital audience revenue growth. His oversight of the Business Intelligence group will further the organization’s focus on data-driven decision making and use of analytics across the company.

Huber lives in Port Orchard with his wife. He is the father of six children and has two grandchildren.