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Tribune Shakeup Continues: LA Times Editor Adds Publisher Duties, L.A. Times Acquired

New chairman Michael Ferro has given numerous newspaper editors a dual role of publisher and editor-in-chief

Tribune Publishing’s new chairman Michael Ferro is continuing to shake things up: giving top editors like the Los Angeles Times’ Davan Maharaj dual responsibility as publishers, acquiring LA.com, reshuffling executives, and implementing a plan to give subscribers wide, free digital access.

The changes and new strategy were announced this morning alongside with the company’s fourth quarter earnings, in which buyouts and restructuring costs weighed on profit.

Editors across various Tribune newspapers will be promoted to publisher and editor-in-chief, assuming dual responsibilities. Leading the structure is Tim Ryan, who has been publisher and chief executive the news group that includes the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Ryan was named president of publishing, reporting to CEO Justin Dearborn. He will work directly with each new publisher an editor-in-chief.

But Denise Warren, a New York Times vet who was Tribune’s digital president as well as CEO of its East Coast papers, left the company, it said Wednesday.

In addition to Maharaj, other executives assumed new dual roles as editor-in-chief and publisher:

  • Bruce Dold, Chicago Tribune
  • Howard Saltz, Sun Sentinel
  • Jeff Light, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Avido Khahaifa, Orlando Sentinel
  • Trif Alatzas, The Baltimore Sun
  • Andrew Julien, Hartford Courant
  • Dave Erdman, The Morning Call
  • Marisa Porto, Daily Press

Tribune acquired LA.com, and will launch a new channel aimed to celebrate Los Angeles and extend the reach of the Los Angeles Times brand, the company said. Maharaj will oversee the global launch of this new content vertical and will report directly to Dearborn.

Among the other executive changes, Tony Hunter was named president of national revenue and strategic initiatives. Malcolm CasSelle was named president of new ventures.

In addition, Ferro donated his Chicago Sun-Times stake to charity to avoid a conflict of interest.

“This divestiture will create a very clear separation of ownership and avoid perceived conflicts of interest, while also providing millions of dollars for community programs and other charitable causes,” Tribune financial chief Sandra Martin said.

Print subscribers will receive free, unlimited access to its digital content across every Tribune Publishing property by April.

The announcements came alongside the company’s fourth-quarter financial report. Costs from offering employees buyouts and other restructuring charges undermined its bottom line, while revenue ticked up almost imperceptibly, resulting in essentially break-even earnings.

In the latest period, the company reported a narrow loss of $77,000, or breakeven on a per-share basis, compared with a year earlier profit of $15.5 million, or 60 cents a share.

Excluding the buyout and restructuring costs, Tribune Publishing would have reported a higher adjusted profit of $35.3 million, or $1.34 a share better than the $1.02 in adjusted earnings per share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $461.8 million, less than the $464 million expected by Wall Street analysts on average.