Peter Brown

Inducted 2019

Editor & Publisher

With a bachelor’s degree in politics and government from Ohio Wesleyan and a master’s degree in theater from the University of Michigan, Peter Brown began his reporting career in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the Marquette Mining Journal and then at the Mining Gazette in Houghton. He resigned from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette with several colleagues following controversial editorial practices by its owner.
Brown took a job as an assistant city editor at the Ann Arbor News in 1980 and moved to the Detroit Free Press in 1983 as a copy editor. He soon became a city hall reporter and is credited with a Page One story during the term of Detroit Mayor Coleman Young in which federal Judge John Feikens questioned the fitness of blacks to govern. The remarks led to an unsuccessful effort to disqualify Feikens from his job overseeing the city’s water department.
Brown was recruited in 1984 to be editor of a start-up, Crain’s Detroit Business. He built the team and the editorial voice that focused on “Detroit businesses that are more than just cars.”
When the editorship of Crain’s flagship publication, Automotive News, opened in 1989, Brown moved to the publication that is the voice of the world’s auto industry. He was promoted to associate publisher in 1992 and eventually to publisher and editorial director. The publication launched supplier coverage and expanded coverage into Asia and Europe.
After a 28-year career at Crain Communications, Brown retired in 2013 and now lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Maria Leonhauser. He has three sons: Greg, Nick and Doug.
Brown is on the board of directors of Focus: HOPE and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.