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.