Michaels will be replaced by a four-member office called an Executive Council, which will be charged with stabilizing the company while it struggles to exit bankruptcy court after almost two years of fractious, stop-and-start negotiations with creditors, they reported.
Michaels' departure followed weeks of escalating allegations that he and his "friends and family" – a cadre of former colleagues and associates from the radio industry – had tarnished the company with boorish, sexist behavior and a general atmosphere of juvenile unprofessionalism in the corporate suite, the report said.
Here is the memo concerning the move:
From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2010 4:52 PM
Subject: Message from Don Liebentritt, Nils Larsen, Tony Hunter and Eddy Hartenstein
Tribune's Board of Directors today accepted Randy Michaels' resignation and voted to establish a four-member Executive Council to assume the responsibilities of the Office of Chief Executive and President, and to oversee the company's publishing and broadcasting operations. The board's actions will be announced in the attached press release, which will be issued shortly.
The members of the Executive Council are: Don Liebentritt, Chief Restructuring Officer, Nils Larsen, Chief Investment Officer, Tony Hunter, President, Publisher and CEO of Chicago Tribune Company, and Eddy Hartenstein, Publisher and CEO of Los Angeles Times Communications LLC. In addition, Nils Larsen has been named Chairman of Tribune Broadcasting.
Jerry Kersting will continue in his role as Tribune Broadcasting President and have day-to-day responsibility for overseeing our television stations, WGN America and WGN Radio; he'll work very closely with the Council.
Gerry Spector will continue as Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly to the Council. He will provide guidance on several systems and infrastructure projects currently underway across the company. His knowledge, insight and continued participation in these projects will be invaluable.
The board took this action as a way of ensuring stability and continuity for the company and its various media businesses.
Each of us recognizes the company's strengths and believes in its future. We also believe that Tribune's greatest asset is its employees and we know how much pride you take in your work and in this company. During the last few weeks the company has drawn a lot of media attention, much of it negative. That coverage has diverted attention from the things that matter most: The quality of our media products, the talent and dedication of our people, and the very real progress that we've made over the last two-and-a-half years.
Now, it is time to move forward and focus on the future. Our business units are in the process of developing their financial and operating plans for 2011 and we are headed into the most important time of the year for our advertising partners. We're also making progress on resolving our Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.
There are many reasons to feel good about our future. There is a lot of work to do, and a lot of opportunity; we can capitalize by staying focused on serving our customers and communities.
Thank you for everything you do for this company every day. Keep up the great work.
Don, Nils, Tony and Eddy