Leading Finnish publisher Aatos Erkko dead at 79

May 7, 2012 - 9:56 AM

HELSINKI (AP) — Aatos Erkko, the former head of Finland's largest media group and an ex-board member of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has died at the age of 79.

The country's leading daily Helsingin Sanomat said Monday that Erkko, whose grandfather was one of the paper's founders in 1889, died in a hospital on May 5 "after a long and severe illness." Erkko was editor-in-chief of the paper in the 1960s.

Under his leadership, the broadsheet became the largest newspaper in the Nordic region, with a circulation of more than 500,000 at its peak.

Erkko was the major owner, chief executive and board member of Sanoma Corp., which grew into one of the Nordic region's largest media groups and expanded abroad, employing 15,000 people in more than 20 countries.

He was a board member of News Corp. from 1992 to 2003.

(This version CORRECTS Add photo, details. Corrects that Erkko's grandfather was co-founder of newspaper.)