The Times Makes Changes at Orange County Edition : Higby, Zacchino Named to New Posts

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday announced a series of management changes at its Orange County Edition aimed at increasing the edition’s autonomy and strengthening its competitive position.

Times Publisher and Chief Executive Tom Johnson said a top marketing executive of Times Mirror Cable Television will assume the newly created position of president of the Orange County Edition.

Lawrence M. Higby, senior vice president of marketing, programming and sales for the cable firm, will take over direction of the business operations of the Orange County Edition beginning Feb. 6, Johnson said. He will also become a vice president of The Times.


Higby will report to Times President and Chief Operating Officer Richard T. Schlosberg III.

In addition, Narda Zacchino, editor of the edition since 1983, was given the additional post of deputy managing editor of The Times, reporting directly to Shelby Coffey III, Times editor and executive vice president.

‘More Responsive’

The Orange County Edition, produced and published in Costa Mesa, had an audited circulation of 169,451 daily and 212,805 on Sundays for the six months ended March 31. It faces strong competition from the Orange County Register. The Santa Ana-based Register’s audited circulation in the same period was 325,015 daily and 369,874 on Sundays.

The staff changes “will enable the Orange County Edition to be more responsive to the region and its editorial needs,” Johnson said. “These moves signify the increasing growth and importance of Orange County and give increased autonomy to the edition.”

In a memo to employees, Johnson said the organizational changes “represent a new era and a new strategy for dealing with one of the Los Angeles Times’ most competitive markets.” Higby, who lives in Tustin, joined Irvine-based Times Mirror Cable in 1986. Both the cable firm and The Times are subsidiaries of Times Mirror Co.

Previously, Higby, 43, was president of America’s Pharmacy, a mail-order prescription drug company; senior vice president of marketing and sales for Taco Bell in Irvine and vice president of marketing for Pepsi-Cola USA. A UCLA graduate, he served in the White House from 1969 to 1973 as deputy assistant to the President in the Richard M. Nixon Administration.

Since joining The Times in 1970, Zacchino has served in a variety of capacities, including reporter, assistant metropolitan editor and Sacramento bureau chief. Zacchino, 41, lives in Irvine.

Ernie Vitucci, Times general manager in Orange County since July, 1987, will report to Higby. Johnson said Vitucci would continue to play an instrumental role in the newspaper’s activities in Orange County.