Tribune Goes Private; Randy Michaels Joins Zell Team

Tribune completed its going-private transaction and also added Randy Michaels to a key executive post.
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Tribune completed its going-private transaction and also added Randy Michaels to a key executive post.

It merged with an “acquisition subsidiary” of the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Sam Zell put up the money for the deal and takes over as chairman and CEO.

Dennis FitzSimons steps down as chairman and CEO. He’s been with the company for more than 25 years. FitzSimons called Zell “an entrepreneur with a phenomenal track record” who has a strong belief in the value of Tribune’s media assets.

The company owns WGN(AM) in Chicago and the Chicago Cubs among numerous other holdings in print and broadcast. It calls itself the only media organization with newspapers, television stations and Web sites in the nation’s top three markets.

Zell described Tribune as a company that, along with the rest of the newspaper industry, “has been mired in its monopolistic origins ... we intend to create a fresh, entrepreneurial culture that is fast and nimble, and which rewards innovation.”

Notable among the additions Zell brings: Randy Michaels will be executive vice president and chief executive officer of interactive and broadcasting. Among other past roles he was president/CEO at Jacor and headed Clear Channel’s acquisition boom that resulted in its owning some 1,200 stations.

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