Mike Distelhorst has been the group publisher of the Jacksonville Daily News, the New Bern Sun Journal and the Kinston Free Press since July 2015.

Coastal North Carolina Group Publisher Mike Distelhorst has been named publisher of The Fayetteville Observer as part of a consolidation effort by GateHouse Media, the company that owns the newspaper.

Distelhorst became group publisher of the Jacksonville Daily News, the New Bern Sun Journal and the Kinston Free Press in July 2015. He expanded his role to include the StarNews in Wilmington in January 2017.

In Fayetteville, he replaces Bob Gruber, who arrived in Fayetteville from Wilmington in August 2016. Gruber has been in the newspaper industry for 40 years. His last day at the Observer will be Sept. 3.

Distelhorst said he is looking forward to working with the staff at the Observer and building on the great work already being done at the company.

“I’m very fortunate to have strong and experienced leaders in each of the properties that I oversee,” Distelhorst said. “With the addition of the Fayetteville market, I’ll still continue my local commitment of giving back to the Coastal North Carolina communities, including serving on the United Way board, leading our partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce and my work with a multitude of other nonprofits.”

Lucy Talley, regional vice president of GateHouse Media’s South Atlantic Publishing Group, called Distelhorst’s track record leading a regional media group “impressive.”

“Adding Fayetteville to his responsibilities was a natural fit that aligns with our company’s strategy,” she said. “Mike has a distinct understanding of the business, he builds high-performing teams and is known for adapting quickly to a rapidly changing media landscape.”

Distelhorst was raised in southeast Iowa and previously served in publishing and sales roles in Texas, Colorado and Kansas.