Previously, Beutner was the co-founder, president and CEO of Evercore Partners, an investment bank. He got his start in investment finance at the Blackstone Group. He is also well known for his philanthropic activities: among other things he currently serves as chairman of CalArts, The Broad Stage and the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation.
Beutner also sits on the boards of The California Nature Conservancy, the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, the Pacific Council on International Relations, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation. In 2012, he founded Vision To Learn, which provides free eyeglasses to children from low-income families.
Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin stated: “Austin’s distinguished career in business, philanthropy and public service makes him the perfect choice to lead the iconic Los Angeles Times. His deep and intimate knowledge of Los Angeles and California are significant and very meaningful as he takes the reins of one of America’s most important media brands.”
Beutner added: “We need a strong and independent press for our community to thrive. Los Angeles and California are where America and the world come to see its future, and with a renewed energy and focus, The Times can inform all of us.”
The spinoff of Tribune’s newspaper division, which took effect last week, is part of a major strategic shift by the former Tribune Co. The rest of the company, now known as Tribune Media, is focusing on its local TV broadcasting operations, along with cable network WGN America, a stake in the Food Network, and online businesses, like Classified Ventures and CareerBuilder.
In February 2013, shortly after emerging from a tortuous four-year bankruptcy, the former Tribune Co. put its newspapers on the auction block, but later withdrew them -- presumably because of a lack of attractive offers. The company acquired 19 stations from Local TV Holdings for $2.73 billion, which closed in December 2013.