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Tribune Co. COO, Member of ‘Zell's Angels,’ to Step Down

Gerry Spector to exit, capping a wild year of shuffling

Gerry Spector, chief operating officer at the Tribune Company, is stepping down, the company announced on Tuesday. Spector's resignation caps a year of wild management shuffling at the bankrupt Chicago-based publishing company — the result of fallout from allegations of a "frat-house" atmosphere in the executive suite.

Spector, a longtime associate of former Tribune Co. chariman Sam Zell, took over the COO post last year from Randy Michaels, the formerly embattled CEO who took over as chief for Zell in 2009 only to resign this fall.

"Gerry has been an important part of our success, and he has been a tireless champion of efficiency and innovation across the company," the four-member executive council that replaced Michaels said in a memo to employees. "He helped re-focus our efforts during a very difficult 2008, when the economy took a downturn and the advertising environment became extremely challenging. Gerry’s leadership, creativity and ability to inspire others resulted in substantial financial improvement in our operations in 2009 and 2010."

Spector and Michaels were hired by Zell shortly after the mogul took control of the then-solvent company in 2007.

And then there's this awkward-sounding detail, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune: "Like his boss, Spector is a motorcycle enthusiast who traveled the globe as a member of Zell's Angels."

In November, shortly after Michaels' ouster, several Clear Channel radio staffers that followed him there followed him out the door.

Last week, the four-member executive committee that replaced Michaels issued an updated code of conduct to all employees on Wednesday. The 11 section code was distributed via e-mail.

"At Tribune, integrity has always been at the core of the fundamental values which govern our individual and professional responsibilities," the memo read. "Tribune’s Code of Business Conduct is rooted in integrity and it is a statement of our firm commitment to honesty, credibility and trustworthiness in all our business dealings."