Tribune Publishing, parent company of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, has installed Justin Dearborn as CEO following the exit of Jack Griffin.
Griffin led the Chicago-based newspaper group for the past two years, since the publishing assets were split off from Tribune’s TV stations and WGN America cabler in 2014.
Dearborn comes to Tribune after working in the health care data arena. He most recently headed the tech firm Merge, which was acquired by IBM last October.
“I believe Tribune Publishing has a significant opportunity to leverage technology to increase the value of its content and distribution channels,” said Dearborn. “Although this is a different medium than my last technology company, it has the same challenge on how to create the highest value for our content.”
Tribune Publishing has struggled against the larger sectoral headwinds facing newspaper publishers. The Los Angeles Times has been the subject of persistent sale rumors and turnover in its executive ranks.
According to published reports, Griffin’s departure was engineered by Tribune Publishing board member Michael Ferro, who was previously chairman of Dearborn’s Merge.
Griffin is a publishing biz veteran who has had a rocky run in CEO posts during the past few years. In February 2011 he was ousted as CEO of Time Inc. after barely six months on the job. He had previously headed Meredith Corp.’s magazine division, home of Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal, among other titles.
Griffin and Tribune positioned his departure as a mutual decision.
“With the progress and foundation that has been laid, the timing is right for a new leader to come on board and lead Tribune Publishing through its next phase of transformation,” Griffin said. “I thank everyone at Tribune Publishing for their hard work through this transition and look forward to moving ahead to my next challenge.”
(Pictured: Justin Dearborn)