There’s more upheaval at the L.A. Times.
Publisher Austin Beutner has been fired as publisher of the newspaper, just one year after he was hired.
Politico – which first reported the story – says Beutner was forced out because of ongoing tensions with Jack Griffin, the chief executive of Tribune Publishing.
Here’s how the Chicago Tribune put it:
“Beutner, who has been heading up the largest newspaper in the Chicago-based Tribune Publishing Chain, was let go for what sources said was lagging financial performance and a series of expensive hires seen by some as a prelude to a potential run for the city’s former deputy mayor.”
Those sources say Beutner wants to run for governor. Two of his recent hires – internet strategist Nicco Mele and V.P. of marketing Johanna Maska – have political backgrounds.
Beutner was brought into the fold a year ago just as Tribune split into publishing and broadcasting arms. At the time, the former investment banker was touted as a non-traditional choice with deep local ties and a keen eye on the future of Southern California. Just four months ago, Buetner engineered the Times’ acquisition of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Times is by far the largest newspaper in the Tribune group and provides national and international reporting to the others.
No successor to Beutner has been named, but Politico says the post will probably go to Tribune veteran Tim Ryan, who’s been the publisher of the Baltimore Sun newspaper for the past eight years.
Meanwhile, L.A. Observed reports that over the past two weeks, L.A. businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad has made overtures to Tribune to buy the LA Times. Broad and Beutner are close, and Broad reportedly wanted him to stay on at the newspaper.
Broad’s bid was rejected by the Tribune Board.
On his Facebook page, Beutner heralded the award-winning journalism, the digital future and his commitment to the paper:
“When I agreed to take this job, many people told me it was an impossible task. Why take on the challenge? For me, the choice was easy. I could not imagine Los Angeles without a vibrant LA Times. I still can’t,” he wrote.