OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The executive editor of the nonprofit journalism corporation Oklahoma Watch announced on Friday his plan to retire later this year.

David Fritze thanked his staff and donors in an email to supporters.

“Oklahoma Watch has made a difference for the better, convincingly showing that fact-driven, investigative journalism is essential for our state," Fritze wrote. “I will miss it, but I also know that we have created momentum for its growth that is stronger than ever."

Fritze has spent the last four decades in the news industry, including the last seven years at Oklahoma Watch. Before that, he was a senior editor at The Arizona Republic for two decades.

Oklahoma Watch Board Chairman Joe Hight says the company plans to restructure and hire both an executive director and an executive editor to replace Fritze.

Oklahoma Watch reports mostly on state government, health care and education. Last year, one of Gov. Kevin Stitt's cabinet secretary picks withdrew his name from consideration after the organization reported the man's company was being sued for allegedly underpaying veterans who worked for him.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.