Tribune Publishing, under pressure from one of its leading shareholders to shed non-performing assets, went through further turmoil with the sudden resignation Oct. 5 of Jeff Johnson, company veteran and publisher of the Los Angeles Times newspaper.
David D. Hiller quickly replaces Mr. Johnson, taking over as president/CEO and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, a broadsheet that is rapidly losing subscribers.
“Jeff and I agreed that this change is best at this time because Tribune and Times executives need to be aligned on how to shape our future,” Scott Smith, president of Tribune Publishing, said in a prepared statement.
Tribune Co. and its management recently have come under pressure from the Chandler family trusts to get rid of assets that don’t meet shareholder expectations. The Chandlers owned the Los Angeles Times till the parent company was merged with Tribune.
The Chicago-based company has sold television stations as part of its divestiture plans and is exploring other strategic options.
Mr. Johnson joined the Los Angeles Times in May 2000 as senior vice president and general manager after holding jobs at other Tribune newspapers, its education unit and in the corporate office. He joined the company in 1984.
His replacement, Mr. Hiller, was president/CEO and publisher of the Chicago Tribune Co., running the Chicago Tribune newspaper and other related businesses. He is an 18-year veteran of the company.
To handle the transition, Mr. Smith will temporarily take over as president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. He has been with the company since 1979.