SHARECOMMENTMORE

Telegraph publisher George McCanless is leaving the newspaper next month to head to the United Way of Central Georgia.

That's according to a news release from the United Way.

McCanless will become president and CEO of the local United Way. The agency serves local charities inBaldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Macon, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson counties.

He replaces Ron Watson, who retires at the end of 2012 after 28 years as president and CEO.

McCanless has been the Telegraph's publisher since 2008. The newspaper credits him with guiding the partnership with Mercer University that created the new Center for Collaborative Journalism.

The United Way's statement:

George McCanless Selected As New President and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia

Macon, Georgia -This morning, George McCanless was announced by the Board of Trustees as United Way of Central Georgia's new President and CEO effective January 14, 2012. He will succeed Ron Watson who is retiring December 31 after 28 years as President and CEO.
"We are excited to welcome George as our new President and CEO. He brings to United Way of Central Georgia the leadership skills, passion for community involvement and extensive experience needed to lead the organization through the exciting opportunities and challenges that lie ahead," said Search Committee Chair Jim Manley, president and CEO of SunTrust Bank, Middle Georgia. "The Search Committee was comprised of United Way of Central Georgia's Executive Committee plus three at-large trustees. I would like to express my appreciation to them for their efforts and hard work in helping select George from the dozens of highly qualified candidates that expressed interest in this position."
Since 2008, McCanless has been the President and Publisher of The Telegraph. Not only does he bring more than thirty years of business and management experience to United Way but he has also been extensively involved in volunteer leadership roles with the organization.
"George has been an extraordinary volunteer leader for United Way of Central Georgia for the past five years...trustee, marketing chair, campaign chair, and current board chair," said Ron Watson, president and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia. "His extensive experience as a corporate CEO coupled with his intelligence, creativity and deep commitment to giving back to his community make George uniquely qualified to lead United Way of Central Georgia."
McCanless has a BS in Business Administration from Wake Forest University. He began his career in the home furnishings industry and went on to become Finance Director for The Herald, Rock Hill, SC. In May 1996, McCanless became Chief Financial Officer of the New Haven (CT) Register. He joined the Times Herald-Record, Middletown, NY in December 1997 as Director of Finance. Then In July 1998 was promoted to Director of Administration. In May 2000, McCanless accepted the position of Vice President/Finance with the Raleigh News and Observer. He was promoted to Senior Vice President/Finance and Strategic Planning in April 2004. In January 2008, he was named President and Publisher of The Telegraph in Macon, GA.
McCanless has been active through-out his career in community activities. He presently is serving as Board Chair of The Cherry Blossom Festival, Vice Chair of the American Cancer Society, board member of the Tubman African American Museum, Macon Bibb Chamber of Commerce and Central Georgia Technical College Foundation. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Grand Opera House and the Junior League of Macon.
"I am very excited personally to be embarking upon a new career, and am honored to have been selected to lead the United Way of Central Georgia. I have always felt that the newspaper and United Way were both very important community institutions with complimentary missions, that being to make a difference in the quality of life for its residents," said McCanless. "My involvement with United Way has given me the opportunity to work closely with many of the capable and dedicated staff and that made my decision to change careers that much easier."
"I hope to be able to build on the 28-year legacy of current President and CEO Ron Watson who merged three United Ways to form United Way of Central Georgia, built the Peyton Anderson Community Services Center with funding from the Peyton Anderson Foundation, and raised more than $100 million during his tenure that has helped make the lives of many, many thousands of central Georgians better," said McCanless. "These are unquestionably large shoes to fill, but I will devote maximum effort to continuing to build on the solid foundation Ron has constructed."