Tribune Publishing names new CEO for LA Times, other papers

Jack Griffin, a longtime print media executive who now runs the New York consulting firm Empirical Media, will take over this summer as CEO of Tribune Publishing. Eddy Hartenstein will become "non-executive chairman" of the new company, whatever that means, and will remain as publisher of the LA Times until another one is chosen, the Times story says. Here's the memo to the staff from Tribune boss Peter Liguori:

From: Peter Liguori

Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:15 AM

Subject: Tribune Publishing Company Leadership Appointments

I am pleased to share the news of several key publishing appointments which will be announced shortly. Eddy Hartenstein, who has served as the highly-respected leader of the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Times Media Group since 2008, and later as Tribune Company CEO, has decided to take on a new role and will become Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Tribune Publishing following its separation from Tribune Company.

Jack Griffin, a veteran media executive who has overseen some of the country’s top publishing brands, will become Chief Executive edficer of Tribune Publishing Company beginning April 14 and following the spin. For those of you who do not know Jack, the work he has done to revitalize and transform major publishing brands into digitally enabled, diversified media and marketing businesses is well established. We are extremely fortunate he will now apply his expertise to growing Tribune Publishing. Finally, we are also announcing today that John Bode will continue as Chief Financial Officer for Tribune Publishing Company following the spin.

We are grateful for Eddy’s strong, creative and unflappable leadership of The Times and the countless contributions he has made to Tribune Publishing. We are in the process of seeking the next publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Tony Hunter, who has provided great leadership in overseeing the Chicago Tribune Media Group (CTMG) and six of our other publishing businesses since mid-2011, will continue as President and CEO of CTMG and as Publisher of Chicago Tribune.

A press release detailing these changes will be issued momentarily.


Hartenstein explains his side of the news in the Times story.

Hartenstein, in an interview, said he took himself out of the running for the CEO position because he felt the job of chairman would be the best use of his skills.

“I decided to take a step back and a step up,” said Hartenstein, 63, who previously worked as a top executive at Hughes Communications, where he became a key architect of the satellite television industry by helping form DirecTV. He served as chairman and chief executive of DirecTV until that company’s 2004 sale to News Corp.

“At this point in my career, I think I would be better and more comfortable being in a strategic role rather than an operating role,” Hartenstein said. “I am going to be associated with this company for a long time as chairman."

The search for a new publisher will be a priority, Hartenstein and Griffin said.

“It will be a very smooth transition,” Hartenstein said. “I’ve got every vested interest in making sure that whoever that person is will represent -- not only the local community here -- but also fit in and represent the important leadership role that the Los Angeles Times will play in the future of Tribune Publishing.”

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