Tribune Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times and several other big city daily newspapers across the country, said that it has named Eddy Hartenstein president and chief executive officer.
Hartenstein is best known in the cable industry as the former CEO of DirecTV.
Joining the company as president at its creation in 1994, Hartenstein steered the satellite giant to the No. 2 spot among pay TV providers. He retired from DirecTV in 2004, about a year after News Corp. purchased a controlling interest in the satellite giant. News Corp. sold that interest to Liberty Media in 2006.
Hartenstein joined Tribune in August 2008 as publisher and CEO of the L.A. Times. He has served as co-president of Tribune and as a member of its executive council since last October.
Tribune filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008. Aside from the major daily newspapers The Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, the Hartford Courant and others, Tribune also operates 23 broadcast TV stations, national cable channel WGN America and Chicago radio station WGN-AM.
"The board feels strongly that it is in Tribune's best interests to have one person providing strategic vision and day-to-day direction for the company and its employees as we prepare to emerge from the Chapter 11 process," Tribune chairman Sam Zell said in a statement. "Eddy is a gifted executive-he knows our operations, understands how technology is changing the media industry, and can help the company capitalize on those changes to continue achieving meaningful financial results."
Hartenstein will continue to serve as publisher and chief executive officer of Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC. He will be assisted in these tasks by Kathy Thomson, appointed today to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer of The Times.
"Tribune's unique mix of broadcasting, publishing and digital assets, along with its forward-looking technology group, positions the company well for success," Hartenstein said in a statement. "I'm also being given the honor of overseeing tremendously talented, experienced employees who, along with our assets and the high quality of our news-gathering organizations, give us important competitive advantages in the media industry."