The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News has named its chief financial officer to the CEO post as it ramps up efforts to streamline its operations.
Tribune Publishing, the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain by circulation, announced Monday that CFO Terry Jimenez will replace Tim Knight, who has been in the top job for just 12 months, as CEO.
“These changes are a natural transition as Tribune Publishing works to reduce its corporate and back-office costs and streamline its real estate footprint,” said David Dreier, who is stepping down as chairman as part of the reshuffling. Philip G. Franklin, head of the board’s audit committee, will become Tribune’s non-executive chairman.
“Phil and Terry both have strong financial and operational backgrounds, which are extraordinarily valuable,” said Dreier, who will remain on Tribune’s board of directors.
Knight, a former Newsday executive, will leave at the end of the month. Mike Lavey, Tribune’s controller, has been named interim chief financial officer.
The C-suite shakeup comes as hedge fund Alden Global Capital, known for slashing costs, in November became Tribune’s largest shareholder with two seats on the board and control of 32 percent of the common stock.
Alden, which separately owns newspaper publisher Digital First Media and Media News, has been called a “strip-miner” of newspapers for axing jobs and selling off assets at papers it owns, including the Denver Post, the Orange County Register and the Boston Herald.
The restructuring was announced on the same day as a Tribune deadline for voluntary staff buyouts. Last month, Tribune offered workers with eight or more years’ experience up to a year of severance to leave their jobs.
When the buyouts were unveiled on Jan. 13, Knight said the company was seeking to control costs and potentially avoid mandatory cuts.
Tribune also publishes the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, Virginia’s Daily Press and the Virginian-Pilot, the Morning Call of Lehigh Valley, Pa., and the Hartford Courant.