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Times Mirror Exec Resigns

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Times Mirror Exec Resigns

Article excerpt

Recent departures raise questions among analysts over company's stability

Times Mirror Co. has lost another top-level executive. After an impressive stint, Mary E. Junck, executive vice president and head of the company's Eastern Newspaper division, announced her resignation last week.

Junck, 51, joined Times Mirror in 1993 as publisher of The Sun in Baltimore. She led the newspaper on a path of strong profits and Eastern Newspapers achieved record revenues under her direction, says Times Mirror CEO Mark H. Willes.

Two senior vice presidents -- Raymond A. Jansen, publisher and CEO of Newsday, and Efrem Zimbalist III, president and CEO of Times Mirror Magazines -- were promoted to executive vice presidents and will split her duties.

Junck and observers say her departure is voluntary. "I just feel it's time to move on," Junck says. "The latest assignment at Times Mirror had some aspects I enjoy, but on the whole, it wasn't as enjoyable as being an operating person at Times Mirror, and life is too short to not enjoy my work."

Her departure, however, has raised questions in the investment community -- a group Wiles has assiduously courted since becoming CEO in 1995. Mary Ann Winter, a New York-based analyst who follows Times Mirror for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., says the abrupt departure of Junck, who had high visibility within the financial community, raises questions about the stability in the company, where several top-level executives have left in recent years. Winter adds that it's too early to assess the long-term financial fallout of Junck's leaving. "It throws some doubt on the relations within the corporate structure. There have been quite a number of important defections there, and that just doesn't look too good. It never looks good."

Times Mirror spokeswoman Martha Goldstein says other departures in the past few years were at the Los Angeles Times, where Willes implemented an aggressive restructuring linking news and marketing. The company says management at Times Mirror and Eastern Newspapers, which includes Newsday, the Sun, The Hartford Courant, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa., The Stamford (Conn.) Advocate, and Greenwich (Conn.) Time, has been stable. "At the Times, the paper is reinventing itself," Goldstein says. "In that kind of situation, you're going to see a lot of movement. At Times Mirror, we have had a very stable senior management team. …

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