Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=114697
Story Retrieval Date: 3/9/2014 2:36:52 PM CST
Cyrus Freidheim, Chicago Sun Times Media Group President and CEO, resigns.
Tenure sets for Sun-Times CEO
After two tumultuous years as president and chief executive officer of the Sun-Times Media Group Inc., Cyrus Freidheim announced his resignation early Thursday.
“It is time for me to move on,” Freidheim said to employees in the press release announcing his departure.
The media group’s assets include the Chicago Sun-Times and more than 70 community newspapers across the city of Chicago.
The Sun-Times Media Group did not name any potential replacements.
Davidson Kempner Capital Management LLC, one of the media company’s top five largest shareholders, recently submitted a consent solicitation that removed Freidheim and all but one previous member from the board of directors.
“He recognizes that it’s time for a change,” Tammy Chase, director of corporate communications for the Sun-Times Media Group, said in a telephone interview. “He will move on and the board will move on as well.”
According to the company, the new board members will meet next week to begin discussing a successor. Freidheim will stay until Feb. 28 to ensure a smooth transition.
“We regret Cyrus is leaving at this time, but wish him well,” said director Robert Poile, in the press release. “He dedicated two very difficult years to maintaining the viability of Sun-Times Media Group and its products and continuing its market leadership throughout the Chicago area. We have a great team and look forward to guiding the company through truly tough challenges to a brighter future. The ride will be tough, but it’s worth the effort.”
Freidheim joined the Sun-Times Media Group board in 2005 and moved into the CEO spot in November 2006. Freidheim replaced an interim CEO who had stepped in after former CEO and large shareholder Conrad Black was forced out of the company.
Freidheim took control during an increasingly difficult print advertising market, which continues to battle such publications as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
“The biggest challenge is the decline in print advertising dollars. It’s not working as it used to. You have to look for a way to attract readers and keep the readers you have,” Chase said.
During Freidheim’s tenure, he implemented a handful of changes in an attempt to shore up the company’s health and staunch its hemorrhaging cash flow.
In the past two years the company has cut where necessary, instituting job cuts, outsourcing, and consolidating plants and departments.
Small strides were made over the past year as the Sun-Times and the community publications managed to prop themselves up and even increase circulation.