Embattled exec's resignation expected by end of the week

Randy Michaels is on his way out as CEO of Tribune Co.

Michaels is expected to resign by the end of the week amid mounting pressure after public revelations of questionable behavior by him and other execs during Michaels’ tenure at the Chicago-based newspaper and TV station owner.

Tribune’s appointment of a successor to Michaels is complicated by the fact that the company is wending its way through a complicated bankruptcy proceeding that’s been under way since December 2008. The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that Michaels will replaced by a four-person Office of the President comprising Eddy Hartenstein and Tony Hunter, publishers of Tribune’s Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, respectively; Nils Larsen, Tribune’s chief investment officer; and Don Liebentritt, chief restructuring officer.

Word of Michaels’ planned resignation came after the Tribune board met Tuesday night to address the situation, brought into sharp focus by a scathing New York Times story earlier this month that detailed alleged incidents of inappropriate exec behavior in and outside of the Tribune workplace.

Michaels came to Tribune in 2008 on the heels of real estate magnate Sam Zell’s 2007 buyout of the company, a deal that quickly cratered under the weight of the debt load that the complex transaction left on the once publicly held entity. It was already expected that Zell and Michaels would depart Tribune once the bankruptcy process was complete. But the scrutiny of Tribune’s inner sanctum by the New York Times roiled company staffers to such a degree that Michaels’ status as CEO was untenable, insiders said.

Last week, Lee Abrams was forced to resign as Tribune’s chief innovation officer after sending a companywide email that included a link to a satiric vid that included sexually graphic content.

A Tribune rep did not return calls seeking comment.

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