Tribune Publishing started a new chapter as a stand-alone company on Monday, as the long-planned spinoff from Tribune Co. takes effect.
Tribune Publishing owns the Los Angeles Times, which publishes the Daily Pilot, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, the Huntington Beach Independent and six community newspaper titles in L.A. County.
Its stock begins regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TPUB on Tuesday, and its board of directors will meet for the first time in Chicago.
The board will represent shareholders in the publicly traded company and oversee Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin as he seeks to grow and diversify digital revenue at The Times, Chicago Tribune and six other daily newspapers.
"Our job is to manage (revenue declines) judiciously over time while we pursue the growth areas of our business, which are increasingly digital growth areas … so that in the aggregate, we're a growth business," Griffin said.
Eddy Hartenstein planned to step down Monday as publisher and CEO of The Times to become non-executive chairman of the Tribune Publishing board. Griffin and Hartenstein will serve on the board along with four outside directors.
"The primary task of the board is to supervise management — hire the CEO, compensate the CEO, plan for the succession of the CEO and if need be, fire the CEO," said Thomas Lys, an accounting professor and corporate governance expert at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. "This is the direct representation of shareholders, which are the owners of the corporation."
In addition to Griffin and Hartenstein, the board is composed of David Dibble, the former top technology executive at Yahoo; Philip Franklin, chief financial officer of Littelfuse Inc., a Chicago-based manufacturer of electronic components; Renetta McCann, chief talent officer at Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett; and Ellen Taus, chief financial officer of the Rockefeller Foundation and a former publishing executive.
Griffin, 54, a longtime magazine executive, became the inaugural CEO of Tribune Publishing in April. Hartenstein's successor at the Los Angeles Times is expected to be named within weeks.
"It's been an interesting journey," Hartenstein said. "It's one that I can look back on here, not only on Monday but for years to come, that speaks to the power of the various Tribune brands in their marketplace. I salute the women and men of Tribune Co., wherever they are — markets big, medium and small — for staying with it."