Tribune Co., the media company controlled by investor Sam Zell, named Tony Hunter chief executive officer and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
Hunter, 47, was senior vice president of circulation and operations for the last year, the Chicago-based company said today in a statement. He replaces Robert Gremillion, who was named interim publisher in June.
Zell has engineered a series of executive changes since completing the $8.3 billion buyout (TRB:US) of Tribune in December. Scott Smith, a 30-year employee, retired as publisher in June. Editor- in-Chief Ann Marie Lipinski resigned a month later to be replaced by Gerould Kern. The Los Angeles Times, another Tribune-owned newspaper, also named a new editor and a new publisher this year.
Hunter, a Chicago Tribune employee since 1994, ``understands the Trib and appreciates its history,'' Tribune Co. Chief Operating Officer Randy Michaels said in the statement. He is ``also a change agent,'' Michaels said.
Hunter helped set up a deal last year to distribute the competing Chicago Sun-Times, according to the release. He served as vice president of the Chicago Tribune's operations from 2003 to 2007. Before joining Tribune, Hunter worked for the Audit Bureau of Circulations from 1984 to 1994.
Zell, a real-estate billionaire, has accelerated what was intended to be a 2010 business plan and redesign of its nine daily newspapers. The company is selling assets and cutting jobs to tackle $12.5 billion in debt (TRB:US) as industrywide advertising sales decline.
The Chicago Tribune said in July that it would eliminate about 80 newsroom jobs, or 14 percent of its editorial workforce, to reduce costs, and cut the number of pages it publishes by as much as 14 percent.
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