Published on Saturday, 23 October 2010 10:09
While the news of Randy Michaels' resignation has been floating around since the start of this week
, some new inside information has surfaced this morning. The New York Times' David Carr (whose October 5th article
on Randy's regime was pivotal to his resignation) and Tin Arango wrote in the New York Times' business section & website "The Ledger" today, unveiling some very interesting information.
In the article, it mentions how four members of the board wanted Randy Michaels out, while four members (Michaels' and Sam Zell's friends) did not. The Tribune board was made up of eight members, plus Sam Zell and Randy Michaels. In Tuesday's board meeting, Randy Michaels was asked to resign, as was first leaked in the New York Times the night before
, but Michaels spent much of the meeting begging to keep his job and refusing to resign. Eventually, it was Sam Zell himself who privately went up to Michaels later and convinced him it was for the best.
Some inside reports claimed that Michaels had spent much of this past week trying to negotiate a hefty severance package for himself (seeking 2.5 time his annual salary plus bonuses, along with complete benefits for two years). According to today's New York Times report, Michaels attempts at a sweet "golden parachute" deal did not work as well as he hoped and all he will be getting is a six month severance of salary and benefits. (Don't feel too sad for Randy Michaels, that still amounts to approximately $1.6 million.) Additionally, he will be retained as a consultant for an undisclosed fee.
The New York Times was also able to obtain an internal email from one board member, Mark Shapiro, complaining to another board member about yet another board member, Don Liebentritt, who is a Zell loyalist and now in charge of restructuring the company. Shapiro's email said "Don has made some wrong turns and because of it has lost the confidence and trust of several of the constituencies."
Obviously, there are troubles within the Tribune Board of Directors, just as there are within the Tribune management. Many outsiders are also questioning why the Board allowed Randy Michaels to last as long as he has.
The New York Times' Ledger article from today is a highly recommended read and can be found at this link HERE
Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune's own Michael Oneal and Phil Rosenthal, both of whom have excellently covered the stories of the Tribune's recent bankruptcy troubles and management troubles as best they could, especially considering who they work for, turned in an article that also contained some valuable inside information. It pulled no punches in its description of Randy Michaels' mistakes.
Among the items mentioned was that Marc Chase has been question as to whether or not he will stay with the company now that Michaels is gone. He said that he'd like to stay. Marc Chase is a close personal friend of Randy Michaels, who was also part of many of the crude incidents described in the October 5th New York Times article, including standing on a balcony with Michaels, loudly describing what it would be like to have sex with the women working in the newsroom below and partaking in the illegal covering of smoke detectors to hold a smoke-filled poker party inside Tribune Tower. Chase is a former radio programmer who was named as President of Tribune Interactive by Randy Michaels, despite no previous experience in such a role.
Oneal and Rosenthal's Tribune article can be read at this link HERE
Lastly, Robert Feder is the one independent writer who has been closely following the many stunning mistakes made by Randy Michaels, Michaels' friend Kevin Metheny (the WGN-AM Program Director), Sean Compton (the President of Tribune Broadcasting), and other of Michaels' cronies from the start. On his Chicago Public Media webpage yesterday, he listed the almost 4 dozen articles written by him in the last year about these Tribune Company problems. The article links are listed chronologically, if readers would like to relive these low points in order. You can see that posting at this link HERE
. It is safe to say that if not for Robert Feder's watchful eye, his revealing the truth about the illegal Michaels poker party, and his national respect for his work, the October 5th New York Times article may not have been written. That article gave an even wider audience insight into the corrupt work environment within Tribune Company, thanks largely to Randy Michaels.
Outside of Randy Michaels' inner circle, very few are unhappy that he has been forced to resign. Nationwide, Tribune employees are rejoicing in the news.