Published on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 13:37
Gerry Spector, Tribune Company's Chief Operating Officer since December 2009, is exiting the company at the end of this week. Spector first joined Tribune Company in December 2007, as one of the first hires by Sam Zell (along with Randy Michaels), after Zell was able to take over the company with a leveraged buyout.
Spector, a longtime friend and business associate of Zell's, was first named as Chief Administrative Officer in December 2007, a title & role created just for him, and then took over as COO one year ago this month, replacing Michaels who took over as CEO. He now follows Michaels out the door of TribCo.
The news of Gerry Spector's exit was first broken to Tribune employees early today in an emailed memo by the four-man group that is running the company in the interim, after Michaels departure: Tony Hunter, Eddy Hartenstein, Nils Larsen, and Don Liebentritt. The news of Spector's exit was first broken publicly this morning by Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal on his Tower Ticker blog
found on the Chicago Tribune's website.
Spector, who is turned 63 last month, was only 25 when he first worked for Sam Zell as an accountant. He became an officer of Zell's Equity Financial and Management the following year, going on to hold senior management positions in that company and several other Zell ventures. Spector became COO of Zell's Equity Residential in 1995, a position he held until 2007, when he took a retirement package from there in order to join Zell within TribCo. (He remains on their Board of Directors, though.)
In addition to being an upper-level executive within Tribune Company, Spector was also known for two other things: his dislike for traditional suits & ties -- he was more of a loud sweater and sweatshirt kind of person -- and his love for motorcycles (a passion he shared with Zell). He was one of those nicknamed "Zell's Angels" -- a small group of biking enthusiasts, who take part in annual worldwide motorcycle trips with Sam Zell.
Gerry Spector is a Chicago-area native who holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Roosevelt University, attended the University of Illinois for a few years, and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
The exit of Gerry Spector does not come as a surprise to anybody. Spector's resignation is just the latest in what has been a crazy three month period of firings, resignations, and reshufflings of Tribune management in the fallout of wild allegations of Randy Michaels and his hand-picked regime and the ouster of Michaels himself. It is also expected that almost all upper executives, especially those brought on by Michaels or Zell, will be be forced out from the company in 2011 as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan, that could be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in just over three months from now.
The Chicago-based Tribune Company is the country's biggest media corporation in bankruptcy. It filed for bankruptcy in December 2008, with approximately $13 billion in debt, less than one year after real estate developer Sam Zell completed a more than $8 billion leveraged buyout of the media giant.
Tribune Company owns twenty-three television stations, thirteen newspapers, various magazines, one radio station and many other websites and companies. Locally, among the company's properties include the Chicago Tribune, RedEye, Hoy, Chicago Magazine, WGN-AM, WGN-TV, CLTV, and WGN America.