PENDLETON - A veteran newspaper executive is returning to Oregon as editor and publisher of the East Oregonian, sister paper to The Daily Astorian. Tom Brown, who last year retired as president and CEO of a family-owned newspaper group in New England, will begin work in Pendleton April 5.

Brown is familiar with the EO and Oregon, having served for the last 10 years as an outside director for the newspaper's parent company, East Oregonian Publishing Co. He grew up in central Oregon and attended Oregon State University, where he was editor of the student newspaper.

"It is especially exciting to return to my roots in Eastern Oregon, having graduated from Madras High School and Oregon State University. I feel like it is my chance to pay back some of my early teachers and mentors who started me down the road to being a reporter and publisher," Brown said.

"My understanding of the EO and appreciation of the family and managers has grown over the years that I have served on the company board. East Oregonian is easily one of the best community newspaper companies in our industry. My goal will be to take the EO and its online edition to an even higher level of service to its readers and advertisers."

Brown's appointment was announced to the EO staff Thursday by John S. Perry, chief operating officer for the publishing company.

"We are fortunate that Tom has agreed to postpone his retirement and accept our invitation to help guide the East Oregonian during these turbulent economic times," Perry said. "He brings to the EO an enormous track record of successful newspapering and award-winning journalism."

Perry explained that Brown's appointment is designed to help prepare the EO for its future in print, Internet and mobile formats. To that end, Brown will oversee all operations at the EO during his tenure, including the newsroom and editorial board. General Manager Wendy DalPez, Managing Editor Skip Nichols and other senior executives at the 8,000-circulation newspaper will report to Brown.

Steve Forrester, president and CEO of the publishing company, said Brown contributed considerable insight as a member of the corporate board for the last decade. "His experience as a publisher will bring great value to the East Oregonian and the region it serves," Forrester said.

Associate publisher Kathryn Brown, who along with Steve and Mike Forrester is a principal owner of the publishing company, said Tom Brown (who is no relation) will bring a wealth of expertise to the EO.

Tom Brown and his wife Carol will move to Pendleton from Concord, N.H. Carol is retiring in June as chairwoman of the English department at a local high school. They have two grown children.

Brown began his 40-year career in newspapers at the Billings Gazette in Montana after earning a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He worked as an environmental reporter and assistant city editor at Billings before moving in 1974 to a newspaper in Butte as operations manager.

Two years later, Brown joined the Missoulian, a 35,000-circulation daily newspaper in western Montana. He served as general manager and then publisher of the Missoulian before moving to New Hampshire as publisher of the Concord Monitor in 1987. He was named president and CEO of Newspapers of New England, the Monitor's parent company, in June 2005. He retired from that company last July.

During Brown's tenure in New Hampshire, the staff of the Concord Monitor received many awards, including journalism's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, for photography in 2008. The Monitor is the only newspaper in New Hampshire to win a Pulitzer.

The Monitor was cited by Time Magazine in 1998 as "one of the nation's best newspapers." It has consistently won the New England Newspaper Association "general excellence" awards. The Monitor was also named one of the top 25 newspapers in America in 2000 by some 150 U.S. editors polled by the Columbia Journalism Review.

Brown is active in local community organizations and the newspaper industry. He was named volunteer of the year by the local United Way and has been on a number of community boards including the Chamber of Commerce and Capital Center for the Arts. Brown is a member of Rotary, a past vice president of the New Hampshire Better Business Bureau and served on the 20/20 Vision economic development task force for Concord.

Brown has served as president and chairman of PAGE - a consortium of 700 privately owned newspapers from around the nation with a goal of enabling competitive buying of newsprint and other supplies so as to keep independent newspapers healthy relative to their publicly owned peers. He is currently chairman of the newsprint committee.

Brown has served as president of the New England Newspaper Association and has been active in the Newspaper Association of America, the leading industry trade association. He is also a past president of the Montana Newspaper Association and was vice president of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association.

Brown, 62, is an avid outdoorsman. He likes to ski, hike and run. He has completed the last 17 Boston Marathons and 31 marathons in total. He was looking forward to more outdoors activities in retirement, but was attracted by the opportunity to return to journalism in Oregon at the EO.

"The East Oregonian has a long and proud history of journalism and service to the people of Oregon," Brown said. "It has always been recognized as a leading state newspaper with local ownership that cares deeply about its employees and the EO communities."