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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Hunter’

Tribune Company Consolidation Leaves Out the LA Times: Is a Sale On the Way?

Tribune Company announced some major consolidations in its publishing division today. Four major publishing jobs were just axed– executive vice president of Tribune Publishing Bob Gremillion, senior vice president of financial operations Harry Amsden, senior vice president of publishing strategy Naomi Sachs and Mike Gart, chief financial officer of Tribune Media Services–and were put in the hands of the Chicago Tribune Media Group’s publisher and chief executive–now Tribune Co. publishing division CEO–Tony Hunter.

Hunter’s new responsibilities will include manning the print and digital operations of the Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and the Daily Press in Virginia. Noticeably absent from the centralized operation is the LA Times, which will remain under the control of president and chief operating officer Kathy Thomson.

This led the Wall Street Journal to wonder whether the Times is being shopped around.

Tribune put most of its major dailies under one umbrella, and conspicuously left the Los Angeles Times as its own entity with a separate executive overseer.

If Tribune wanted to sell the Los Angeles Times — and suitors have circled the newspaper in the past — the company may have created a perfect structure in which to do so.

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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.