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Report: Tribune names Peter Liguori CEO

Nov. 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The new owners of media giant Tribune Co. have chosen Peter Liguori as their top executive, a source told the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported Saturday that Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co., and JPMorgan Chase could take over Tribune company by the end of the year after the company spent four years in bankruptcy.

One of the group's first decisions will be to name members of the company's board and its executive staff, the Tribune said. However "the decision has been made," to name Liguori as chief executive officer, a source told the newspaper.

Liguori is a member of the board at Yahoo Inc., MGM Holdings Inc. and Topps Co., and is credited with turning cable channel FX into an entertainment giant during a stint at Fox Broadcasting, which is owned by News Corp.

"FX was a channel when he took over -- a little, tiny cable channel losing a bunch of money. He made it into something big by imagining something different, and I think that's what Tribune needs," said Jeff Shell, president of NBCUniversal International in London, who worked with Liguori at Fox for six years and was considered a candidate to take over the Tribune Co.

Shell said he considered Liguori "a very, very smart hire for Oaktree and the guys that run the company because I think what Tribune needs more than anything is somebody to kind of build the brands back and make it a true media company, as opposed to just a collection of businesses."

Tribune owns several major U.S. newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. It also runs a collection of television stations.

One of the new CEO's first decisions will be whether Tribune Co. should hold onto its newspapers, given the industry's struggles to keep up with competition from the Internet.

Liguori was president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co. from 2005 to 2009. He then took the position of chief operating officer at Discovery, where he helped launch the Oprah Winfrey Network.

After ascending to CEO of OWN, he was bumped out when Winfrey decided to make herself CEO.

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