Read the memos: Tribune and LA Times to reorganize, make more cuts

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LA Times building in downtown Los Angeles. LA Observed.

Tribune Company chief executive Peter Liguori this morning announced a restructuring of the publishing side ghetto where the company has moved its newspapers — which he said are profitable, but that need to become even leaner. The plan unveiled today will cut about 700 jobs across Tribune's eight daily newspapers, but Liguori said there would be only "some small reductions in editorial staff." Details for what that means at the Times, the company's biggest paper, aren't yet known. Here is the Times story and the Chicago Tribune story.

In the reorganization, functions that are now managed by individual papers, such as advertising and circulation, will be consolidated into single units across the company.

Tribune promoted several executives in the newspaper unit to manage the newly consolidated departments.

Bill Adee will oversee the publishing division's digital operations. Bob Fleck, currently a senior vice president of advertising at the Chicago Tribune, will become executive vice president of advertising for the newspaper unit.

Bill Nagel, currently executive vice president of business services at The Times, will have the new role of executive vice president of marketing for the publishing unit. He will oversee all consumer marketing and circulation operations, as well as brand marketing, market research and events management.

Tribune reported a nearly $50-million profit in the third quarter, but that came largely from cost cutting amid a further erosion in newspaper advertising.

This all sets yesterday's resignation of Times publisher Kathy Thomson in a new context. I'm sure it will be widely noted within the Times that there is only one woman getting new department head responsibilities. Here are the memos that were sent today to Times staffers.

From: Peter Liguori
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:01 AM
Subject: Publishing Transformation

Today, we are announcing an organizational and strategic transformation designed to ensure the long-term vitality of Tribune's publishing business. Our top priority every day is delivering outstanding journalism to our readers and great value to our advertisers, while running our business to proactively address the secular realities of the publishing industry.

To move forward productively, we must explore innovative ways to more efficiently operate our business. Specifically, we must take better advantage of Tribune's unique size and reach. To that end, we have decided to unify the non-editorial functions of our publishing businesses.

Aligning the non-editorial areas of our business units by function, rather than by geography, will allow us to better share best-practices, create efficiencies and maintain our local focus. This will enable us, in turn, to continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales and digital growth.

Going forward, it is especially important that we invest more concertedly in our digital areas so we can get ahead of the quickly evolving, digital needs of our readers. We have appointed Bill Adee to lead a new team of people charged with authoring Tribune Publishing’s digital future. Later today, Eddy Hartenstein and Tony Hunter will announce the appointments of leaders in other key publishing areas such as advertising, marketing, manufacturing and distribution, and human resources.

Our long-time, local publishers and editors will continue leading their publishing businesses and newsrooms. This new structure will afford our publishers, editors and their staffs greater opportunity to focus on what they do best-- servicing their local readers, advertisers and communities.

Creating these critical efficiencies and ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff. It is always difficult to part with valued colleagues, particularly those at Tribune who have unwaveringly served our publishing businesses over the years. On behalf of the entire company, I thank them for their dedication, hard work and contributions.

I also want to thank the dozens of people across the company who have worked diligently with Eddy and Tony during the last several months to meticulously design Tribune Publishing's new operating structure. I am confident that the functionally-driven organization we are announcing today will provide our publishing businesses with the focused leadership, resources and expertise they require to successfully navigate the challenges ahead while continuing to produce the best printed and digital news products in the country.


Here's the memo from Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein and Tribune Publishing CEO Tony Hunter.

From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:11 AM
Subject: Message from Eddy Hartenstein and Tony Hunter/Publishing Appointments

We are pleased to announce today the promotion of several executives who will lead key company functions for Tribune Publishing.

As Peter has just said, we are naming leaders of each major revenue function in our company including advertising sales, consumer marketing, and digital media. We will also be focusing our management resources in manufacturing, distribution, finance, human resources, and technology, so that each function can best serve the company, our advertisers, and our readers.

Our strategy is to make Tribune Publishing synonymous with the sharing of employee skills, best practices, product innovation, new revenue activities, and new content initiatives rapidly and seamlessly across the company. Each of these leaders has an established track record of success at our company.

The following long-time Tribune executives will assume new responsibilities:

Bob Fleck, currently Senior Vice President, Advertising for Chicago Tribune, will assume the new role of Executive Vice President of Advertising for Tribune Publishing, the company’s senior-most advertising position. All national advertising teams, including T365, Digital, MediaWorks, and Classified Marketplaces will report to Bob. Brad Agens will take on expanded national responsibility for Tribune’s digital advertising, reporting to Bob. Both Bob and Brad will work closely with Mike Tannourji, Executive Vice President of Advertising at Los Angeles Times Media, as well with the advertising teams of each of our publications, which will continue to report to their local publishers.

Bill Nagel, currently Executive Vice President, Business Services at The Los Angeles Times will be appointed to the new role of Executive Vice President of Marketing for Tribune Publishing, overseeing all consumer marketing and circulation operations, both print and digital, as well as the company’s brand marketing, market research and events management. Joseph Schlitz, currently Senior Vice President of Marketing & Targeted Media for Chicago Tribune will assume the new role of Senior Vice President, Marketing & Targeted Media for Tribune Publishing, reporting to Bill and working closely with the marketing teams of all Tribune Publishing properties.

Bill Adee, Emily Smith, and Barb Healy, will each take on expanded, companywide responsibilities for key dimensions of our digital strategy and operations. Led by Bill Adee, this new Tribune Publishing organization will be called Tribune Digital.

Russ Newton, now Senior Vice President/Operations & Home Delivery for Los Angeles Times Media becomes Tribune Publishing’s Senior Vice President of Manufacturing. Bob Thomas, currently Vice President, Distribution Fulfillment, Chicago Tribune will lead companywide Distribution operations as Senior Vice President of Distribution.

As announced earlier, John Bode, Chief Financial Officer of Tribune Publishing will head up the company’s finance, accounting, and investor relations functions. Gwen Murakami, now Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Los Angeles Times Media, will assume expanded duties as Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Tribune Publishing, reporting to John.

Ghalib Kassam will continue in his role as Executive Vice President, Information Systems and Technology.

While each new appointment is effective January 1, 2014, our new functional executives will be meeting with many of you across the company in the interim to help plan our work together for 2014 and beyond.

As already announced, a number of positions will be eliminated around the company in order to allow for reinvestment in future growth. We assure you that each will be handled with respect, dignity, and assistance for the future.

Please join us in congratulating our new executive team. We look forward to working together to build the Tribune Publishing Company of the future.

Eddy and Tony

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