Eddy Hartenstein will remain publisher of Los Angeles Times Media Group, but he has appointed former Times executive Kathy Thomson as president and chief operating officer. Also, Tribune Co. will remain based in Chicago. The company continues its struggles to exit bankruptcy protection and restructure operations. You might recall that Randy Michaels was replaced as CEO last year and replaced by a four-member executive council that included Hartenstein. Here's the Times story.
*From the Chicago Tribune:
Hartenstein, a former head of DirecTV, said in an interview that, even though there "is not now ... clarity of when we're going to emerge" from bankruptcy, the board believed there would be benefits to "having a single voice in terms of ... direction and focus." Because Tribune Co. remains in the throes of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process that has dragged on for 29 months, Hartenstein's appointment is by definition interim, but he does not see it that way. "I don't do anything on an interim basis," he said. "I'm pretty much full-throttle. ... We are acting as if we're going to do this forever. Any CEO serves at the pleasure of a board. This board wants it this way. I think if we execute on a plan and show a direction of where we're going, a new board, when that new board is formed on emergence, can evaluate that.
A U.S. bankruptcy judge is still determining which of two restructuring plans to approve, a process that is likely to drag out for months. Whenever the company does emerge from Chapter 11, it will be majority owned by the largest senior creditors, a group that includes lender JPMorgan Chase and hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Co. That group will choose its own board, which, in turn, will select its own management team. So it's not at all certain that Hartenstein will be staying on.