HOUSTON (AP) _ The Houston Chronicle promoted president and associate publisher Jack Sweeney to publisher Wednesday, succeeding Richard J.V. Johnson, who will continue to serve as chairman.

``Now in my 46th year at the Chronicle _ and with our 100th anniversary coming up in 2001 _ I felt this was an appropriate time for the announcement of my successor and for turning over the leadership of the paper to Sweeney,'' Johnson said on the newspaper's Web site.

Johnson, 70, has been the Chronicle's publisher for 14 years.

Sweeney, 54, will remain the newspaper's president. He was named president of the Chronicle in September 1998 and two months later was promoted to associate publisher along with editor Jack Loftis.

Loftis, 65, will remain associate publisher and editor.

The Hearst Corp. owns the Chronicle, which has the largest circulation in Texas and is ranked ninth nationally.

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