Tribune Publishing, the owner of The Chicago Tribune, announced a management shake-up on Monday and appointed Chief Jim Jimenez, its chief financial officer. He succeeds Timothy P. Knight, who will step down as managing director after only one year.
The changes come two months after Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund that was once described as the "destroyer of newspapers", acquired the largest single stake in the company and appointed two out of eight directors to the board. Tribune Publishing has already cut staff and cut 118 jobs by September. Last month, the company asked journalists in newspapers across the country to volunteer for buyouts.
Tribune Publishing, which includes The New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and The Orlando Sentinel, has been hit hard by fundamental changes in the news business, with readers using screens for their news and Facebook and Google outsourcing the bulk of digital advertising dollars.
In a memo to employees on Monday, Knight said the company must continue to align its costs with the current level of earnings and added: “These efforts allow the company to focus resources on our employees and the journalism you produce. "
Mr. Knight, who has spent several decades in the news business, said he was looking forward to finding a new adventure.
The employees represented by the union at The Baltimore Sun had sharp words for the company's executives.
"The cuts are only necessary to refresh Wall Street's unrealistic earnings expectations," the union said in one Tweet Respond to management changes. "We need a better explanation for a new leadership to satisfy Wall Street with its plans to invest in quality and local journalism."
Alden Global has a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing and has agreed to initially avoid management or human resources issues. But insiders are careful. Alden, who is known for gutting newsrooms to improve profits, could buy more shares in July.
Fear of the hedge fund has gripped The Chicago Tribune journalists so much that two of their reporters addressed several billionaires last month to be potential white knights and to buy the company to ward off Alden.
"Now we're getting ready to look at colleagues who have decades of experience with cardboard boxes in their arms and tears on their faces," said David Jackson and Gary Marx, reporters at The Chicago Tribune. wrote in an article published in January for the New York Times.
Mr. Jimenez, who has been chief financial officer since 2016, has worked for news publishers for several years, including a magazine day and several years as editor of amNewYork, a free daily newspaper.