Kirk MacDonald, chief operating officer of Creative Loafing Inc. and publisher of the Chicago Reader, is leaving the company. He’s going back to the Denver Newspaper Agency, which controls the business operations of the Denver Post, as executive vice president for sales, marketing, and digital sales — “which as you well know is where the game is, going into the future,” he tells me.

The agency was created to oversee the business operations of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain New under a joint operating agreement launched in January 2001. It continues although the News folded this past February. The Post is owned by the MediaNews Group chain; but despite the appearance of some organizational redundancy in having the agency layered between MediaNews and the Post, Kirk insists there’s no managerial redundancy. MacDonald was the agency’s first CEO, holding the job until he resigned in 2006. In the 90s he’d been an executive at the Post, leaving in ’97 as vice president and general manager.

While working for Creative Loafing MacDonald continued to live in Denver. But he’d been a frequent visitor to Chicago since Creative Loafing bought the Reader in 2007, and last September he became this paper’s publisher

Creative Loafing’s CEO, Ben Eason, will temporarily assume the COO’s duties, MacDonald tells me, and will name a new publisher for the Reader. The obvious candidate is associate publisher, Steve Timble, who “has brought a fantastic energy to the sales organization,” says MacDonald.