Jan 18, 2011

Singleton to step down as MediaNews CEO*

There's a massive shakeup in the boardroom of MediaNews Group. Chairman and CEO Dean Singleton has announced he will relinquish his position atop what is now the second-largest newspaper chain in the country. Singleton, who has come to symbolize aggressive cost cutting, consolidation and cheapness in the newspaper industry, will become executive chairman of the company.

Additionally, President Joseph Lodovic said he will resign, effective immediately. An interim president has been named in his place.

MediaNews has launched a search to replace the two men.

From the Denver Post:
MediaNews also said it will launch a search for the newly created position of chief revenue officer. Michael Sileck, a MediaNews director, will serve in that position on an interim basis.
"In light of the significant opportunities and challenges we and the industry are facing, our company is best served by having separate executives focus their full efforts on both the strategic landscape, and on implementing an effective plan to expand our revenue streams and meet our operational and efficiency goals," Singleton said in a statement.
MediaNews also named three new directors: Heath Freeman, Bruce Schnelwar and Eric Krauss.
*Update: The Post article does not offer any background on the three new directors. According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, Freeman is managing director of Alden Global Capital; Schelwar is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Smith Management LLC as well as managing director of Alden Global Capital, and Krauss is chief financial officer of Action Sports Inc.

When financiers get put in charge, and a chief revenue officer is hired, one can be fairly certain that the banks that helped bail the company out of last year's bankruptcy are not happy with performance. As I wrote in March, "Bank of America and the other major creditors probably won't be very patient about seeing returns on their investment after forgiving [$765 million of] debt." And, apparently, they weren't.

What this means for a company that already has furloughs and a vacation freeze on tap is hard to know. Further consolidation almost seems impossible - nevertheless, that's the plan. And Singleton will be in charge. Here's the company press release, explaining Singleton's role now that he has more free time on his hands:
...focus on opportunities to optimize the company’s portfolio of properties and consolidation opportunities in the newspaper industry.
Porfolios are rarely optimized through investment and adding newsroom staff.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure when the bankers look at all those unnecessary layers of management for what is basically a manufacturing company they'll find ways to consolidate.

Anonymous said...

And having Dean Singleton in charge of "consolidation" is like ... (paste your more-than-obvious simile here):

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Singleton's influence will be significant or meaningful. His position will be limited by banks who are furious with him. However, the new decision makers could be worse. All they know are numbers.

Anonymous said...

I doubt if all they know are numbers. If they knew numbers in this case they wouldn't be eating three quarters of a billion. They will arrange leadership far better than current.

Milton Waddams said...

Call me a cock-eyed optimist, or a pie-eyed carrot-topped summer sunday dreamer, or just a stubborn old cuss who won't stop believing in things just working out in the end, if you wait long enough, thank you very much, but I'm cautiously hopeful this means I will get my old job back, and stapler.

Anonymous said...

@Milton Waddams: WHY ON EARTH would you want your old job back? Move onward and upward; newspapers ain't where it's at.

Anonymous said...

Better to think of MNG as a holding company instead of an owner of anything, except maybe Denver Post -- even then.

Gannett and Donrey have never been out of the picture, etc. etc. as many others are not out of the picture nor out of the money pot.

Dean has been more like a reverse-independent contractor and a wealthy one at that.

While everyone thinks that Dean is hanging his substantial head in shame ... he's sitting in his cave near Denver counting his millions upon millions.

"My precious, my precious ..."

katharine said...

@ Anony 1:34 PM: I believe Milton Waddams is a reference to the excellent 1999 comedy "Office Space."
2) Milton Waddams: I know who has your red stapler.