FitzSimons' farewell

Tribune Company chairman Dennis J. FitzSimons won't be missed much at the L.A. Times. Here's his farewell missive sent this morning (the typos or misspellings are his, not mine.)

From: Dennis FitzSimons
Sent: Wed Dec 19 08:41:58 2007
Subject: Stepping down

Tribune Colleagues,

As of tomorrow, Tribune will be a private company a great result for our sharehholders and employees. I'd like to say thank you to co-workers across the company for the hard work that enabled us to complete this transaction. And thank you also to all of Tribune's employees who stayed focused on serving our customers during what has been a lengthy process.

As you know, Sam Zell has made a significant personal investment in Tribune. He will become Chairman of the Board, effective at the close. I will be stepping down as Chairman and CEO and after helping with some postt-transaction matters will leave the company at the ennd of the year. It's the right time for this transition and for Tribune's 20,000 employees to hear a single voice from the top.

I'm very proud of the accomplishments made by so many in the company as we have navigated the significant structural changes affecting our industry. In particular, I'd like to mention:

* Scott Smith, Bob Gremillion, David Hiller, Tim Landon and their teams in Publishing/Interactive. Thanks to them, Tribune newspapers are providing our communities with outstanding journalism while operating more efficiently and deploying significant resources to invest in Tribune's digital future. Fast-growing niche publications like RedEye and amNY are also becoming significant revenue contributors.

* John Reardon at Tribune Broadcasting, which has made a dramatic turnaround under his leadership. A great team is in place and Tribune's TV stations are positioned for a year of outstanding operating cash flow growth in 2008 based on much-improved ratings and excellent local news performance.

* Shaun Sheehan, VP/Washington, whose work with the FCC and Congressional leaders enabled us to surmount regulatory obstacles; and

* The group here at Corporate, including Don Grenesko, Chandler Bigelow and the finance group; Crane Kenney, Dave Eldersveld, Mark Hianik and the legal department; Tom Leach and Dan Kazan in Development; Luis Lewin, Irene Sewell in HR; Ruthellyn Musil,Gary Weitman in Communications, and others, who have worked non-stop for the last 10 months on the process that will culminate tomorrow.

I've been privileged to spend 25 years at Tribune and very fortunate to have known and worked with so many talented, dedicated people during that time. While I can't possibly name all of you in this note, I am grateful for your support and contributions to the company.

Again, completing this "going private" transaction is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers. Work on the transformation of Tribune will continue out of the glare of the public markets and emplmployees will have the opportunity to share in the very real upside of that transformation. Extraordinary people have made Tribune successful for 160 years as the media landscape has evolved. I have no doubt that success will continue.

I will miss working with you to help achieve the many great things that are ahead for Tribune. At the same time, I know that Sam Zell, an entrepreneur with a phenomenal track record, comes to the company with a strong belief in the value of Tribune's people and media assets. It was Sam's creativity, personal commitment and investment which made this transaction possible.

I wish Sam and all of you the very best as th the company moves forward into a new ownership structure and a successful future.

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