With the sudden death of Lewis Katz in a plane crash Saturday, his son, Drew, is expected to assume a large role in the ownership and management of The Inquirer as well as other organizations owned or influenced by his father.
Drew Katz, 42, has long been a protégé of his father, who groomed him to run the businesses he owned and developed.
H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, co-owner of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, said Sunday that Drew Katz would replace his father on the board of the media company.
Drew Katz, who divides his time between Center City and Manhattan, is a graduate of Stanford University law school, and has been involved in the outdoor advertising business for 18 years. He is chief executive officer of Cherry Hill-based Interstate Outdoor Advertising, which controls 1,100 billboards across the country. He also is involved in philanthropic projects, as was his father.
After the sale of the newspapers and Philly.com on Tuesday to a partnership of Lenfest and Lewis Katz, it was assumed that the younger Katz would be involved in some manner with the company.
"Probably the area where I can offer my greatest assistance is in advertising," he said, adding that he was happy to assist "in any area where I can be helpful."
Asked whether he had thought he would ever become involved in the newspaper business, Drew Katz said: "I did not. But I didn't know anything about outdoor advertising, and figured it out."
Beyond Interstate Outdoor Advertising, Katz is a principal of Foster Interstate Media Inc., based in California. He previously owned Metro Lights, a national media company with offices on both coasts.
He also is the founder and chief executive of the Drew A. Katz Foundation, which, according to its website, has contributed more than $1 million to more than 225 nonprofit organizations since 2003.
Also among the seven victims of the plane crash was Marcella M. Dalsey, 59, executive director of the Drew A. Katz Foundation and president of the KATZ Academy Charter School.
Last year, Drew Katz married Rachel Snyder, a pro bono lawyer in New York for the Door, a nonprofit organization that provides legal, career, and other development services for impoverished young people.
Inquirer staff writer Peter Dobrin contributed to this article.