20 October 2010

Tribune Said to Want Chief to Resign

NY Times

The board of the Tribune Company agreed on Tuesday that Randy Michaels, the beleaguered chief executive, should resign soon but stopped short of immediately asking for his resignation, according to a person directly involved in the discussions.

The board met on Tuesday to discuss the future management of the bankrupt company, which owns The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and many other media properties, and will continue deliberating in the coming days, said this person, who spoke only on a condition of anonymity.

The company issued a statement Tuesday saying, “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.” As he was heading to lunch after the meeting, Mr. Michaels told a Chicago Tribune reporter, "I work here today and I’m still working."

Mr. Michaels, a veteran of the radio industry, was hired by Sam Zell, the Chicago real estate mogul who bought the company for $8.2 billion in 2007, to run Tribune’s broadcasting and interactive businesses, along with six of the company’s midmarket newspapers. Mr. Michaels became chief executive and was elected to Tribune’s board in December 2009.

Mr. Michaels came in for increased scrutiny when Lee Abrams, the company’s chief innovation officer, sent out an offensive e-mail, was suspended and then resigned last week.

The e-mail and resignation came after reports in The New York Times that management, led by Mr. Michaels, had received millions in bonuses even as 4,200 employees lost their jobs, hired associates from his days in the radio business for jobs they had little relevant experience for and created a coarse and hostile work culture that offended many employees.

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