After six months with a four-member Executive Council, Tribune Company has finally named a CEO to succeed Randy Michaels. Eddy Hartenstein is the new CEO of the entire company, but will also continue as publisher of the Los Angeles Times Media Group.
Hartenstein had been one of the members of that Executive Council appointed last October, along with Don Liebentritt, Tribune’s Chief Restructuring Officer; Nils Larsen, Tribune’s Chief Investment Officer and Tony Hunter, President, Publisher and CEO of Chicago Tribune Company.
“The board feels strongly that it is in Tribune’s best interests to have one person providing strategic vision and day-to-day direction for the company and its employees as we prepare to emerge from the Chapter 11 process. Eddy is a gifted executive—he knows our operations, understands how technology is changing the media industry, and can help the company capitalize on those changes to continue achieving meaningful financial results,” said a statement from Tribune Company Chairman Sam Zell.
“Tribune’s unique mix of broadcasting, publishing and digital assets, along with its forward-looking technology group, positions the company well for success. I’m also being given the honor of overseeing tremendously talented, experienced employees who, along with our assets and the high quality of our news-gathering organizations, give us important competitive advantages in the media industry,” said Hartenstein.
An aerospace engineer by training, Hartenstein was founder and CEO of DirecTV before joining the LA Times as publisher in 2008, a few months before the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Sirius XM Radio.
RBR-TVBR observation: We said from the start that CEO-by-committee is a bad idea for any company. Hartenstein doesn’t appear to be weighed down by old media notions, so he’s probably a good choice. What Tribune really needs next is for a reorganization plan to be approved by the bankruptcy court so the company can get out of Chapter 11 and move forward.