Tribune Publishing has fired CEO Jack Griffin.
The surprise move comes just a few weeks after Michael Ferro bought a 17 percent stake in Tribune for $44.4 million, with Griffin’s support. Ferro arranged the move and helped case Griffin’s replacement, according to Politico.
The firing became official with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday morning and Justin Dearborn has been named the new CEO.
“I’m proud of all that we have accomplished to reorient the Company and position these premium brands for the future,” said Griffin. “I have tremendous respect for the mission of this business and for the dedicated employees that serve this organization with distinction. With the progress and foundation that has been laid, the timing is right for a new leader to come on board and lead Tribune Publishing through its next phase of transformation. I thank everyone at Tribune Publishing for their hard work through this transition and look forward to moving ahead to my next challenge.”
Dearborn will take over immediately.
“I want to thank Jack Griffin for his leadership as I inherit a strong foundation and the privilege of leading these iconic brands through the next chapter of innovation and transformation,” Dearborn said.
Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and several other regional newspapers.
Ferro has reportedly been flexing his muscle since his company, Merrick Media, bought a major stake in Tribune earlier this month. Politico’s Ken Doctor recently said he was “behaving more like an executive chairman, if not the company’s CEO.”
“The Board thanks Jack Griffin for his significant contributions and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” Ferro said.
Dearborn most recently served as CEO of Merge, where he led the publicly traded company until its acquisition by IBM in October of 2015 in a $1 billion transaction.
“I believe Tribune Publishing’s a significant opportunity to leverage technology to increase the value of its content and distribution channels,” Dearborn said. “Although this is a different medium than my last technology company, it has the same challenge on how to create the highest value for our content.”