Paul Gaier, a newspaper veteran with Illinois roots, is the new president and publisher of the Peoria Journal Star and PJStar.com, Bradley M. Harmon, central U.S. president for GateHouse Media, announced Wednesday.

Gaier replaces Ken Mauser, who resigned May 1 after 32 years of service to the Peoria community. Gaier will report to Harmon and assumes his new role immediately.
 
"I am excited to work with such a talented group of media professionals. Our focus will be to serve the greater Peoria community with an eye toward growing our franchise while working with local businesses to thrive," said Gaier, who was previously publisher of the Rockford Register Star, which he will continue to oversee in his new role as president of GateHouse's Illinois operation. GateHouse Media has 33 publications in Illinois, including 14 daily newspapers.
 
Harmon said, "Paul brings a diverse background, a strong track record for growing businesses, driving community conversation and an overall progressive approach to business that will help us grow our Illinois franchise."

Gaier led the Rockford market for the past several years of growth. Under his leadership, the Register Star was named one of 10 newspapers that "Do It Right" by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2017. He has been with GateHouse Media since 2012, when he joined the Peoria Journal Star as director of advertising.  

Gaier, who had roles with the United Way, the Economic Development Council and Leadership Council in Rockford, plans to be engaged in the Peoria community. “I want to play a role in helping to make Peoria a better place to live,” he said.

He said he is extremely committed to the Journal Star’s role as the community’s watchdog. “I grew up in the newspaper business and lived with it my whole life,” he said. “I’m committed to our role in supporting the First Amendment.”

Gaier is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., with a bachelor's degree in business administration and minor in marketing.