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Posts Tagged ‘Nils Larsen’

Tribune Reaches a New Deal with DirecTV

A four-day blackout has come to an end as the Tribune Co. and DirecTV have reached a new deal on retransmission consent fees. For local DirecTV customers, this means the return of KTLA and CW programming.

The previous deal between the two sides expired on March 31 and as a result, 23 Tribune Stations across the country and WGN America were pulled from the satellite provider.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with DirecTV and to return our valuable news, entertainment and sports programming to DirecTV subscribers,” Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president, said in a statement. “On behalf of Tribune Broadcasting, I want to thank viewers across all of our markets for their support, understanding and patience during the negotiating process—we truly regret the service interruptions of the last several days.”

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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…?

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 Co. Reorganizes Execs In Face Of Lender Probing

tribune logo2333.jpgWhen we last left Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune Co., he was challenging the objections of senior lenders to retain the exclusive right to reorganize his company’s structure and take it out of Chapter 11, where its been for almost a year.

Now it looks like Zell is taking matters into his own hands and starting the reorganization process already. Yesterday, several executives were shuffled around the company, including Gerry Spector‘s move to COO of Tribune Co. from chief administrative officer, and CFO Chandler Bigelow‘s expansion of his role to include financial operations in publishing and human resources. Nils Larsen was also named CIO “effective immediately.”

Press release after the jump

Read More: Tribune Co. reorganizes executives, names Gerry Spector chief operating officerChicago Tribune

Previously: Tribune Co.’s No Good, Very Bad Week

Read more

Today in Blagojevich: Tribune Co. Acknowledges Subpoena

402007larsen.gifOh the travails of the Tribune Co. Here’s the latest. The company has confirmed that it has in fact received a federal subpoena as part of criminal charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The “close associate” of Sam Zell who was allegedly approached by Blago’s people for “help”, and is now being interviewed by the FBI, has been identified as Nils Larsen. According to the Chicago Tribune Larsen is the “38-year-old financial whiz who was instrumental in Zell’s takeover of Tribune Co.” A deal Zell now concedes perhaps wasn’t as well thought out as it could have been.

Whether Larsen ever attempted to apply pressure to Tribune officials remained unclear.

At the news conference announcing the arrests, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald declined to say how far the effort went, “other than the person who was identified as a person to be fired was not fired and still works there today.”

It should be noted that the Tribune Co. and Zell maintain they did nothing wrong and that none of the Trib‘s editorial members were fired.