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Posts Tagged ‘Don Liebentritt’

Tribune Company COO Gerry Spector Steps Down

The Chicago Tribune‘s “Tower Ticker” blog is reporting Tribune Co. COO and Sam Zell pal Gerry Spector is stepping down at the end of the year. Chicago Tribune Media Group CEO Tony Hunter, LA Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein, Tribune Co. Chief Investment Officer Nils Larsen and Chapter 11 caretaker Don Liebentritt made a joint announcement yesterday.

“Gerry has been an important part of our success, and he has been a tireless champion of efficiency and innovation across the company,” the group said in a statement.

Don’t you just love that word efficiency? Which, ever since the advent of Reaganomics, is business speak for “layoffs.” We’re not just making that up. Given what the LA Times has been through in the past few years, doesn’t it make more sense? Spector was a “tireless champion of layoffs.”

Anyway, aside from laying people off, Spector also had an apparent fetish for Cosby sweaters. So, there’s that too.

What’s that saying about the door hitting something on the way out…?

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Randy Michaels Out as Tribune CEO

In an anti-climatic decision, the Tribune Company board of directors got Randy Michaels to step down from his post as CEO.

The clock was ticking on Michaels’ tenure after allegations into his personal conduct and management style, leading to questions whether he was the right person to lead the company from bankruptcy.

Replacing Michaels is a four-person panel comprised of Tony Hunter and Eddy Hartenstein, publishers of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, respectively; Nils Larsen, the Tribune chief investment officer; and Don Liebentritt, chief restructing officer.

Michaels joined Tribune in 2007, shortly after longtime colleague Sam Zell took over the media company in a highly leveraged deal.

It remains to be seen if the Michaels dismissal will have an impact on Tribune-owned WPIX.

In recent weeks, the station, with news director Bill Carey at the helm, made major changes to their signature newscast—PIX News at Ten. Jodi Applegate replaced veterans Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels Is Sticking Around… For Now

The rumor mill was churning this morning as multiple outlets reported that Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels would leave or be asked to step down from his role with the company.  Now Chicago Tribune staff reporters Michael Oneal and Stacy St. Clair have written that Michaels cleared up the speculation for the time being in a simple exchange with COO Gerry Spector:

“I work here today and I’m still working,” said Michaels.

Tribune Co.’s board held a meeting this morning in the wake of recent issues stemming from the inappropriate behavior of Michaels’s hand-picked management team.  The most egregious incident came when chief innovation officer Lee Abrams sent a sexually explicit email to co-workers, an action that resulted in his resignation last week.  The board reportedly is discussing if Michaels is a suitable leader in light of the embarrassment cast upon the company by his own staff.

Following the board meeting, Tribune Co. released a statement that did not quite offer Michaels a vote of confidence:

“Tribune’s board of directors is focused on filing the company’s plan of reorganization this Friday and has no comment on any other issue.”

In addition to the board’s concerns about employee reports of him making the workplace uncomfortable, Michaels also is having a hard time overcoming the recent New York Times article that likened Tribune office culture to a sexist “frat house.”  This entire headache comes at a time when Tribune is already tied up in a 22-month-long bankruptcy ordeal.  Ouch.

UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Jim Romanesko reported that Michaels will, in fact, resign by the end of the week.  Sources say he will be replaced by Los Angeles Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein, Chicago Tribune publisher Tony Hunter, Tribune chief investment officer Nils Larsen, and chief restructuring officer Don Liebentritt.

Tribune Company Takes Another Step Towards Chapter 11 Exit

Looks like the Tribune Company has weathered David Carr‘s story in the New York Times after all. Days after saying the story–which labeled Trib. Co’s upper management as a “frat house”–had possibly done irreversible harm to the company’s bankruptcy negotiations, the company reached a mediator-approved agreement with its major creditors.

“With the able assistance of [mediator] Judge Gross, we continue to achieve success in our mediation efforts, and are pleased to have now expanded the plan settlement to include the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors,” Don Liebentritt, Tribune’s Chief Restructuring Officer, said in a press release.  ”The additional value being allocated to our bondholders and other unsecured creditors represents a fair and equitable settlement for all of our constituencies.  We remain confident that Tribune continues on a path toward resolution of its Chapter 11 cases that maximizes the value of the bankruptcy estates, preserves all stakeholders’ legitimate entitlements and enables the company to conclude its bankruptcy proceedings as soon as possible.”

As the LA Times notes, however, several junior creditors are still not on board–including Aurelius Capital Management. The story described Aurelius as “litigious” in its bankruptcy negotiations. That said, the Times went on to put a positive spin on the story however, reporting that the new agreement “increases up-front payments to junior bondholders like Aurelius by $120 million, bringing their recovery to $420 million, or 32.73 cents on the dollar.”

Previously on FBLA: NYT Story on Tribune Company May Have Killed Bankruptcy Negotiations