Justin Dearborn, who was most recently CEO of Merge Healthcare, has taken over as CEO of the Chicago Tribune's parent company, Tribune Publishing said in a statement Tuesday morning.
He replaces Jack Griffin, effective immediately.
"The Board thanks Jack Griffin for his significant contributions and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” Michael Ferro, who recently became Tribune Publishing chairman after making an investment in the company, said in the statement.
Merge Healthcare was acquired by IBM in October. Ferro and his Merrick Ventures were significant investors in Merge, and Ferro was Merge's chairman and Dearborn its CEO when the deal was announced in August.
“I believe Tribune Publishing has a significant opportunity to leverage technology to increase the value of its content and distribution channels,” Dearborn said in the statement. “Although this is a different medium than my last technology company, it has the same challenge on how to create the highest value for our content.”
Griffin "was instrumental in the spinoff that created Tribune Publishing Co. as an independent, publicly traded company. During his tenure, Griffin effectively managed costs and built a strong acquisition pipeline," the statement said.
"With the progress and foundation that has been laid, the timing is right for a new leader to come on board and lead Tribune Publishing through its next phase of transformation," Griffin said in the statement.
Ferro has a stake in the Chicago Tribune's rival newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times through a company called Wrapports. Because of the Tribune investment, Ferro has stepped down from the board of Wrapports. Tribune said Ferro will keep his stake in Wrapports, but he will not attended meetings related to Sun-Times Media Holdings.
At the same time the cash infusion was announced, Tribune Publishing suspended its quarterly dividend to free up more money after a difficult year. Revenue has slumped as readers and advertisers continue to migrate online and the company has trimmed staff to cut costs. Its stock has plummeted 68 percent in the last year.
Chicago-based Tribune Publishing owns 11 daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Orlando Sentinel. It spun off from media company Tribune Co. about two years ago.
The Associated Press contributed.