Tribune Publishing CEO Tim Knight is stepping down, just a few weeks after the company offered voluntary buyouts to employees and New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital became its largest stockholder.
Tribune Publishing, the parent company of newspapers Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun, among others, has appointed its Chief Financial Officer, Terry Jimenez, to become CEO and president.
Knight will leave at the end of February.
Mike Lavey, Chief Accounting Officer, was named interim CFO, according to multiple reports.
Philip Franklin, chairman of the board, has been appointed non-executive chairman of the board, succeeding David Dreier, who is leaving the role, but will remain on the board.
"These changes are a natural transition as Tribune Publishing works to reduce its corporate and back-office costs and streamline its real estate footprint," Dreier stated.
Knight joined Tribune Publishing as president in 2017; he was named CEO in January 2019 after Justin Dearborn stepped down.
In November, Alden acquired a 32% stake in Tribune Publishing, buying out former chairman Michael Ferro, for about $118 million.
Tribune Publishing offered voluntary buyouts to employees with eight or more years at the company a few weeks ago, likely a move to avoid sweeping, cost-cutting layoffs.
It is the second round of buyouts and layoffs in two years, according to Chicago-based media columnist Robert Feder.
Soon after Alden's purchase, two staffers at the Chicago Tribune called for new owners in an op-ed published in The New York Times. They cited the firm's history of gutting local newspapers.
“Alden’s strategy of acquiring struggling local newsrooms and stripping them of assets has built the personal wealth of the hedge-fund’s investors," they wrote. "But Alden has imposed draconian staff cuts that decimated The Denver Post and other once-proud newspapers that have been vital to their communities and to American democracy.”
The staffers called for “a civic-minded local owner or group of owners” to save the newspaper.
Tribune Publishing reported revenue of $236 million in its third-quarter last year, down from $255.8 million in the year prior.
Digital revenue grew 49.9%, and its digital-only subscribers increased 38%.