CINCINNATI (AP) _ Charles E. Scripps retired Friday as board chairman of The E.W. Scripps Co. after 41 years in the job.

Scripps, 74, will become chairman of the board's executive committee. He also is chairman of the trustees of The Edward W. Scripps Trust, controlling shareholder of The E.W. Scripps Co.

He is a grandson of Edward W. Scripps, the company's founder.

Charles Scripps is succeeded by Lawrence A. Leser, who has been elected chairman and chief executive officer. Leser, 59, had been the company's president and chief executive officer since 1985.

William R. Burleigh has been elected to succeed Leser as president, and will remain chief operating officer. Burleigh, 58, had been executive vice president since 1990.

Charles Scripps began his career in 1941 as a reporter at The Cleveland Press, the first newspaper founded by his grandfather. He served with the Coast Guard in World War II before returning to the company. He held various positions and in 1953, became chairman of the board at age 33.

He has supervised the growth of the company, which now owns 19 daily newspapers, nine television stations and cable television systems with 716,000 basic subscribers.

The company's entertainment division includes United Media, which syndicates and licenses news features and comics; Scripps Howard Productions and Cinetel Productions, creators of programming for broadcast and cable television, and the Home & Garden Television Network, a 24-hour cable channel to start operation late this year.