Tribune appoints Jack Griffin to head publishing company spinoff

March 6 Thu Mar 6, 2014 12:25pm EST

March 6 (Reuters) - Media executive Jack Griffin was appointed on Thursday as chief executive of Tribune Co's forthcoming spinoff newspaper company, Tribune Publishing.

Griffin has served as an adviser to Tribune through Empirical Media Advisors, the media consulting firm he co-founded.

Tribune also announced that Eddy Hartenstein, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times and former DirecTV executive, will become non-executive chairman of Tribune Publishing's board.

The appointments are effective on April 14.

"With Eddy and Jack in place, I am confident that Tribune Publishing will continue to prosper far into the future and provide the quality journalism that has been the hallmark of its newspaper brands and digital services," Peter Liguori, chief executive officer of Tribune Co, said in a statement.

Griffin will take the helm of Tribune Publishing, which includes the company's eight newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune, during a perilous time.

Under the new stand-alone company, the newspapers will be separated from Tribune's much more lucrative broadcast TV stations and its digital properties, including Classified Ventures, as advertisers shun print and readers increasingly get their news from smartphones and tablets.

Separating the sluggish print properties from faster growing TV assets has been in vogue with media companies in the past year. News Corp split from its entertainment and cable properties that now operate under 21st Century Fox Inc, and Time Warner is preparing to spin off its magazine unit, Time Inc.

Griffin also served as the chief executive of Time Inc and president of the national media group at Meredith Corp.

He will step down from his chief executive role at Empirical, where he will be succeeded by co-founder Jim Friedlich.