Thursday, December 20, 2007

There's a New Sheriff at Tribune Company, and his name is Sam Zell

Sam Zell not only completed the going private transaction of Tribune Company, he also takes over the helm as CEO in January, 2008. He indicated in a press conference today, that his message is that there is a new sheriff in town, and he's bringing more revenue and relevance to Tribune; not to mention he reiterated that he is selling America's most pathetic, yet beloved baseball teams - The Chicago Cubs.

Besides joking about turning the Freedom Center (Printing plant of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper) into a floating Casino, he did make two key executive appointments to the company and several new appointments to the Board of Directors.

The executive additions are Randy Michaels as executive vice president and chief executive officer of Interactive and Broadcasting, and Gerald A. Spector as executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Michaels, 55, was formerly CEO of Local TV, LLC, a company that acquired television stations formerly owned by New York Times Company. He has more than 37 years in media, including his role as president and chief executive officer at Jacor, which merged with Clear Channel Communications in 1999. As CEO, Michaels grew Clear Channel from 425 to 1200 stations in just three years.

Spector, 61, previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Equity Residential. Prior to that role, he was COO of Equity Group Investments. Spector has more than 35 years of experience in bringing various financial and real estate companies within Zell’s organization to operational excellence. He remains on the board of trustees of Equity Residential as vice chairman.

Among his small but evolving activities as the impending CEO, he took pride in influencing the decision for Chicago Tribune to begin including the URL on the front page of the newspaper. This lends itself to his strong interest in driving tight integration between broadcast, print, and online. He promises a new EGI-Tribune and one with a digital future.
Disclaimer: I am a former shareholder of Tribune Company (TRB).

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