UPDATE: Chicago 'Trib' Publisher Exits, Does Not Blame Zell

By Strupp, Joe | Editor & Publisher, June 13, 2008 | Go to article overview

UPDATE: Chicago 'Trib' Publisher Exits, Does Not Blame Zell


Strupp, Joe, Editor & Publisher


Chicago Tribune Publisher Scott Smith, 57, has announced his retirement, according to a memo to employees obtained by E&P on Thursday. It follows by less than a week revelations of major cutbacks coming up at Tribune papers, including page count.

Smith is also president of Tribune Publishing. The memo follows below, along with a memo from Randy Michaels, the COO.

In its Friday edition, the Tribune relates, "News of Smith's imminent departure after more than 30 years with Tribune Co. comes just one week after Zell and Chief Operating Officer Randy Michaels announced sweeping plans to redesign Tribune Co.'s papers and reduce the number of pages in response to worse-than-expected publishing revenue declines.

"But in an interview, Smith said that move didn't precipitate his departure. He had never intended to stay beyond assisting the Zell team with its transition, and this seemed an opportune time to move on. 'If there's going to be the next new wave of important changes, it's important that those decisions be made by people who are going to own the outcomes and that frankly wasn't my likely time horizon,' said Smith, 57, who began his second stint as Chicago Tribune publisher in 2006.

"'We've got to be aggressive and try very aggressive things. I'm all for that,' Smith said. 'But exactly which things to try and what pace you can do them at, while serving customers well, has to be determined.'"

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From: Smith, Scott C. Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:01 PMSubject: My Decision to Retire

Colleagues, I want to let you know that I will retire as publisher of the Chicago Tribune and president of Tribune Publishing once a successor for my Chicago Tribune CEO role is selected. Sam, Randy and I agree it's time for new leadership to lead the next wave of market driven change in our business. When the new Tribune era began last December, I committed to focus on my Chicago Tribune duties and facilitate the best possible transition for the company overall. The new era has brought fresh perspectives that I sought to blend effectively with established Tribune strengths, starting with the very talented people steadfastly dedicated to our success. …

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