Tribune CEO Peter Liguori leaves at short notice

  • After about four years on the job
  • Praise for Liguori
  • Peter Kern taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(management-change.com) — Chicago, Illinois, January 25, 2017 — Peter Liguori, chief executive of Tribune, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Tribune Media Company in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, Peter Liguori leaves the post as chief executive officer at the media and entertainment company in a surprising move after about four years on the job, effective shortly after February 28, 2017.

Tribune will undertake a search for a successor.

Liguori’s duties are taken over in the interim by Peter M. Kern, currently Managing Partner at InterMedia Partners VII, LP.

Already a director

Kern is already a director of Tribune. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company can’t find other suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Kern understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Tribune’s organization, finances and strategy.

“It was time to find a new CEO”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Bruce Karsh, chairman of Tribune Media’s board of directors said in a fairly blunt statement: “It became clear to Peter and the board that in this last year of his contract it was time to find a new CEO to run the more broadcast-centric company.”

“Step down”

Tribune said: “On January 24, 2017, Peter Liguori, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Tribune Media Company …, notified the Company of his decision to resign from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors … of the Company, effective immediately following the Company’s earnings release and investor call in connection with its release of results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, which is expected to occur on or shortly after February 28, 2017.”

Precise information about the future plans of Liguori was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Tribune Media Company since July 2014.

Oaktree holds 16.22 percent stake

Oaktree Capital Management, LP reported a 16.22 percent stake in Tribune Media Company as of September 30, 2016. Oaktree is a privately owned hedge fund sponsor.

Chaired by Bruce A. Karsh

Tribune Media Company is chaired by Bruce A. Karsh.

Bruce A. Karsh serves as President, Co-Chairman, Chief Investment Officer, and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management.

On the job as CEO since 2013

Peter Liguori is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Media Company.

Liguori previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Communications.

Before joining Discovery in 2009, Liguori served as Chairman of entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company.

Prior to assuming that position in 2005, Liguori was president and CEO of News Corp.’s FX Networks since 1998, overseeing business and programming operations for FX and Fox Movie Channel.

Unplanned

Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it is a signal that the move was unplanned and too early.

Read the full story in the management-change.com report 05.2017 ($).