Tribune Co. names Randy Michaels CEO, keeps Sam Zell chairman

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Posted by Bud on December 02, 2009 at 18:37:29:

Tribune Co. names new CEO, keeps Zell chairman

(AP) - 1 hour ago

CHICAGO Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co. said Wednesday that Randy Michaels will succeed Sam Zell as chief executive, with Zell remaining as chairman.

Michaels, who is also joining the board, has been chief operating officer of the Chicago-based company since May. Before that he had been head of Tribune's interactive and broadcast divisions.

Tribune, which owns some of the most esteemed newspapers in the country, has been led for years by executives with backgrounds in other industries. Before Zell, a real estate mogul, Tribune was headed for five years by Dennis FitzSimons, a former broadcast executive.

Although Tribune operates 23 television stations, it also publishes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection last year because of dwindling advertising revenue and a crushing debt load of $13 billion. Much of that debt was amassed when Zell took the company private in 2007.

Since the Chapter 11 filing, many have speculated that Zell would be pushed out as part of the reorganization plan.

Angry creditors have been looking into Zell's buyout and want to propose their own alternative plan for turning around the company.

On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey in Wilmington, Del., granted Tribune more time to submit a reorganization plan, extending the period under which Tribune has exclusive rights to file a plan to Feb. 28, with the possibility of a further extension after a mid-February hearing.

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