The Chicago Tribune, with its parent company implementing the cost-cutting strategy of its biggest investor, said Thursday its two top editors are departing.
In an announcement to employees, the Tribune said Publisher and Editor-in-Chief R. Bruce Dold is leaving at the end of April and that Managing Editor Peter Kendall will be gone by Friday. The paper said Colin McMahon, chief content officer at Tribune Publishing, will replace Dold as editor.
The changes come as the Tribune braces for cuts expected to be ordered by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which has a 32% stake in the company. Alden, controlled by Heath Freeman, has been buying newspapers throughout the U.S., selling off their assets and deeply cutting their editorial staffs, drawing criticism from Congress.
The staff changes were announced in a memo to employees from Terry Jimenez, who became the parent company’s CEO and president in a shakeup less than a month ago. Jimenez had been chief financial officer. He replaced Tim Knight, who also is set to leave the company Friday.
Dold has worked 42 years at the Tribune, a career that includes a Pulitzer Prize. Kendall has been at the Tribune 32 years. While Jimenez’s memo praised their service, it did not get into the need for changes.
Jimenez said McMahon will report to Par Ridder, general manager of Chicago Tribune Media Group. It appeared that the title of publisher at the newspaper was being phased out. Through a spokesman, Jimenez declined comment.
In a note to coworkers, Dold called working for the Tribune “the honor of my life” and he thanked Kendall and others for their contributions. Citing Tribune reporting that he said has made the city better, Dold said he hopes to continue working on civic issues.
“I am in awe of all of you, the journalists in our newsroom, who show such commitment to this work and such resilience in the face of enormous challenges,” Dold wrote.
Unionized editorial workers at the Tribune issued a statement on Twitter thanking Dold and Kendall for their service. The workers, part of the Chicago News Guild, are negotiating their first contract at the company.
In recent weeks, about a dozen Tribune staffers have accepted buyouts.
Tribune Publishing also owns the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel and other major dailies, all of which have sustained staff reductions.
Alden acquired its controlling stake in the company last November and got of its appointees added to the board. The New York-based hedge fund signed a “standstill” agreement prohibiting it from acquiring more shares through June 30.
It controls other dailies through its MediaNews Group and has acquired a 5.9% stake in Lee Enterprises, another newspaper chain.