Former Trib CEO Heads to Media General

Media General, parent of The Tampa Tribune and the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, appointed former Tribune Co. chairman and chief executive officer Dennis J. FitzSimons to the board of directors, which it expanded by one member to 10.

FitzSimons was the last chairman of Tribune as a public company, and left when the current chairman and CEO, Sam Zell, closed his $8 billion deal to take the Chicago media giant private in December 2007.

Like Tribune, Media General—which publishes 21 dailies—also operates broadcast television stations and has an extensive portfolio of online properties, including DealTaker.com.

Richmond-based Media General does not have the extensive debt of Tribune, but has suffered especially during the downturn because its biggest papers and TV stations are located in Sun Belt markets that fell into recession earlier and deeper than other parts of the country. Tampa, in particular, has been a drag on the company.

“Dennis FitzSimons is a proven and innovative business leader who led a premier media company through times of outstanding growth and tough challenges,” Media General President and CEO Marshall N. Morton said in a statement. “His industry knowledge and experience with the changing media landscape and the synergies of print, broadcast and online platforms will bring a valuable perspective to the Media General board’s deliberations. We welcome his counsel as Media General continues to adapt its business model to an increasingly digital and mobile media world.”

FitzSimons spent 25 years at Tribune, much of it in radio and TV, becoming the first chairman who came up on the broadcast side. He was named president and COO in July 2001, CEO in January 2003 and chairman in 2004.

Nielsen Business Media