LAT publisher out

Times publisher John Puerner, who has had his share of battles with Chicago, is going surfing. No nice landing within Tribune, no nothing—he's just gone with "no specific plans for the future." The new publisher is Jeff Johnson, who has been executive vice president and general manager. Here's the memo:

TO: Times Employees
FROM: Scott Smith, President, Tribune Publishing

Today we are announcing an important management transition at the Los Angeles Times. On June 1, Jeff Johnson will succeed John Puerner as president, publisher and CEO. As you'll read in John's note that follows, he is planning a well-deserved career break. Having worked closely with John throughout his 26-year career, I am deeply grateful for his strong and wise leadership in each of his important roles with our company.

For the past five years, John has successfully guided the Los Angeles Times transition to Tribune ownership. Over this period, the Times has made excellent progress in many ways including advancing editorial quality, improving operating efficiency and investing to better serve readers and advertisers.

One of John's most important accomplishments is the capable management team that he developed at the Times. As executive vice president and general manager, Jeff has been central to many of the advances over these five years. His personal leadership qualities and wide range of experience-both in Los Angeles and in prior assignments with Tribune Company-make him the very best person to succeed John. Jeff has a keen understanding of the Times' position and future potential in this very large, diverse and competitive market.

Jeff will immediately assume many of John's responsibilities including leading the strategic planning process this spring. John will provide important counsel to ensure a very smooth transition.

At the Times and across Tribune, there are great opportunities to improve readership, revenue, profitability and the value we create for all we serve. John, Jeff and I greatly appreciate your commitment to achieving these shared goals.

Please join me in congratulating Jeff on becoming the Times' publisher and wishing John all the best in the future.


Scott Smith

Puerner's accompanying note is after the break.

Dear Colleagues,

As noted in the accompanying memo from Scott Smith, I have decided to leave the Los Angeles Times to take a self-imposed career break after five very rewarding years at The Times. My last day will be May 31st.

Importantly, I am very pleased that Jeff Johnson was selected to succeed me. Jeff and I have worked together over many years and I admire him very much. He is a wonderful leader who cares deeply about our newspaper.

I am truly honored to have served as publisher of the Los Angeles Times. I know I'm biased, but I consider it to be one of the finest and most important newspapers in America. Often times, I'm still amazed at what The Times is capable of. I am extremely proud of everything that we have accomplished together, and I want to thank all of you for your friendship and support.

This also ends my 26-year career at Tribune Company. I am grateful to have worked for one company my entire adult life. I have had rich experiences at the corporate office, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and, of course, The Times. Along the way I have come to appreciate the excellence within all parts of our company, and consider myself fortunate to have worked with very talented and dedicated people everywhere I've been.

I don't have any specific plans for the future, other than to spend the summer with my family supporting endeavors important to them, which have taken a back seat to my career. In the meantime, I am committed to doing everything I can to assist in a smooth transition. Beyond that, Liz and I will take some time to consider what's next. For the time being, we plan on staying in Southern California where I hope to remain involved in a community that I have become very fond of.

It has been a pleasure working with the great staff here, and I wish you and the Los Angeles Times the best of luck and success. My day will continue to start with you every morning.

Kindest regards,
John Puerner

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