Presaging Hiller's exit

Not that we're clairvoyant or anything, but David Hiller's resignation/firing as LAT publisher was probably set in motion late last year, when Tribune CEO Sam Zell first laid out his organizational structure. For Hiller, it was one of those “heads you win, tails I lose” sorts of dilemmas. As we reported at the time, Zell wanted no part of the Tribune's old ways of Chicago-centric decision-making. Instead, he delegated authority to people within the various business units - and then held those folks responsible for whatever happened. "Right now," Zell told the Chicago Tribune, "somebody decided that we should put advertising on the front page. What I'd like to do is say to David Hiller, 'You've got bottom line responsibility.' If advertising on the front page gets you there, that's fine. If you think advertising on the front page is wrong for LA and you're gonna get revenue some other way, that's fine. But as long as it's top down, you can't hold anybody accountable. And if you hold people accountable, you produce results -- for the people and the company." Apparently it didn't work out that way, though not for lack of trying.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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