NEW YORK — Maribel Perez Wadsworth has been named publisher of USA Today, becoming the second woman to hold the post.

Wadsworth is taking up the role immediately following the retirement of John Zidich, USA Today said Thursday.

Wadsworth, 45, is also president of the USA Today Network, which has 109 local media properties. She will remain in that role, where the company said she has driven "investments in emerging technologies to create groundbreaking storytelling, such as the launch of the first weekly news program in virtual reality."

"Maribel's passion for creating great experiences for our audiences as well as her commitment to constant innovation make her the ideal leader for USA Today," said Robert Dickey, president and CEO of Gannett Co., which owns USA Today.

A Cuban-American born in Miami, Wadsworth joined the corporate team of Gannett Co. in 2009, leading digital strategy for the company's local newsrooms. In 2015, she became Gannett's first chief strategy officer.

"I could not be more excited to work with this incredibly talented team," Wadsworth said.

Wadsworth first joined Gannett as an agricultural beat reporter for the Rockford Register Star, where she was the Illinois newspaper's only Spanish-speaking reporter, according to a story in USA Today. She covered the city's migrant worker community and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs.

"I remember thinking that is part of why I need to be doing what I'm doing, because I can help to bring out some of those important stories that maybe are going uncovered otherwise," Wadsworth said.