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An outsider with no media experience takes the helm at the Tribune

The Tribune, a group of legacy newspapers in the United States, is now led by CEO Justin Dearborn, an executive with no media experience. While he has extensive experience in the technology sector, his latest position was as head of Merge Healthcare, a medical technology company that was acquired by IBM in October. But since in business and life it often matters who you know rather than what you know, Dearborn has earned the full trust, if not the benefit of the doubt, of the Tribune’s newest largest shareholder, Michael Ferro, who also owned Merge until its sale. Tribune’s market capitalization plummeted to below $200 million under ousted CEO Jack Griffin, despite his cost-cutting measures. The revolution brought about by the Internet keeps roiling the traditional newspaper industry. For more than a decade now, the measures—in essence, downsizing staff—have felt like dumping survivors from the lifeboat until making it to any shore. Lately, however, the turnover of commanders conveys a sense of a battle that goes very wrong. Let us hope the war is not lost yet.

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