Chicago, Illinois – The Chicago Tribune publicly announced that the Southern California operation of Tribune Publishing is not doing well financially, and performing poorly compared with the rest of the company.

Earlier this month, Austin Beutner, publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, was fired by Tribune Publishing. Then, the Chicago Tribune published on the evening of September 18, the poor handling of the Southern California wing on the hands of Beutner.

Los Angeles Times – 1986. Credit: Jay Miller

Tribune Publishing CEO, Jack Griffin, stated that the Los Angeles Times was not on the same page as the rest of the company when it comes to “full and committed participations” regarding to the company’s goals and initiatives. Those initiatives include, for example, a disciplined management of costs.

Beutner, like other publishers in Griffin’s group, had “the independence and the autonomy, as they should, to pursue and implement their own local market strategies. At the same time, given the way our company is set up and given the secular realities of print advertising, our local publishers/CEOs have to [buy] into and be fully participating in the initiatives,” explained Griffin.

Griffin’s initiatives include managing a disciplined cost structure, expanding revenue and pursuing acquisitions to help the bottom line. Griffin declined to specify examples of where Beutner went wrong, but sources have pointed to lagging financial performance, especially on the cost side, and a series of unusual executive hires as leading to the September 8 dismissal.

Three of Beutner’s executive hires have already left the company after his firing, including Renata Simril, the paper’s chief of staff, Johanna Maska, communications vice president, and digital strategist Nicco Mele.

Furthermore, in a Tribune Publishing Company 2015 Financial Guidance, the company stated it expected the following results during this year: total revenues between $1.645 billion to $1.675 billion, compared to prior estimates of $1.67 billion to $1.70 billion; and an adjusted EBITDA of $145 million to $160 million, compared to prior estimations of $165 million to $175 million.

With this in mind, the Tribune Publishing’s Chief Financial Officer Sandra J. Martin said, “Revised guidance reflects lower forecasted revenue estimates for the year, concentrated in Southern California. Expense mitigation efforts partially offset this decline, but are expected to be unfavorably impacted by the delay of implementation of these efforts, principally in Southern California.”

All in all, employees of the Union -Tribune and Los Angeles Times should probably expect more layoffs. A source said to Reader magazine that the executive who replaced Beutner, Tim Ryan, has a reputation of being a “layoff czar.”

Source: Tribune Publishing