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Zell solicits ideas for change at Tribune; says he's 'open to anything'

Zell solicits ideas for change at Tribune; says he's 'open to anything'

New Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO Sam Zell said he is "open to anything" as he and his new management team decide how to overhaul the media conglomerate, but declined to reveal specific plans for any changes he has in mind.
A day after the company went private in the $8.2 billion (euro5.7 billion) buyout that gave him control, Zell again said he thinks newspapers have a future and said Tribune likely will add to its 20,000 employees over the next year despite fears he might make big cuts.
"I'm in no way, shape or form prepared to give up on newspapers," the real estate magnate said in a videotaped interview with reporters from the Tribune-owned Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times posted on the company's Web site Friday. "I think newspapers can and will be viable."
Exactly how the Tribune's stable of newspapers and TV stations will change remains unknown _ even to the new boss, he indicated.
"I think we'll have more employees a year from now than we have today," Zell said. "I'll also tell you that I think it's unlikely that all the deck chairs will be in the same place."
While emphasizing that "change is what it's all about," he was reluctant to disclose what actions may be taken besides reiterating that the historical newspaper model isn't working.
"It would be arrogant on our part to come here and say, 'OK, tomorrow here's what we're going to do,'" he said. "Maybe less arrogant 60 days from now. But I think that you will see even over the next 60 days slow change _ and that's very positive."
Zell said he already had received a couple of hundred messages from staff on the new "Talk to Sam" link he had just set up.
Some Chicagoans reacted negatively Friday to Zell's confirmation a day earlier that the company is exploring the possibility of selling the naming rights to Wrigley Field, which he may sell separately from the Chicago Cubs professional baseball team that plays there, in order to fetch a higher price for the assets.
"Is nothing sacred anymore?" one angry fan wrote on an online forum Friday.
The Cubs sale, which Zell wants to complete by the start of the baseball season, is on hold while Tribune discusses a possible deal for Wrigley with the Illinois State Facilities Authority, which could use naming rights to help pay for the purchase.
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On the Net:
http://www.tribune.com


Updated : 2021-05-15 11:00 GMT+08:00