The Tribune Co. has named president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Times Kathy Thomson to the newly created position of chief operating officer of Tribune Publishing, effective immediately.
In this new role, Thomson will work with all of the company’s publishing units and lead several strategic initiatives including the expansion of digital products and services, the formation of a cross-functional team focused on innovation, the promotion of process efficiency and the increased use of video. Thomson also will continue in her current role at the Times, overseeing the Los Angeles Times Media Group’s portfolio of products.
“Kathy is extremely talented and well-respected throughout the company,” said Peter Liguori, Tribune’s chief executive officer. “During her leadership of the Times, she has demonstrated a keen understanding of the business, a willingness to innovate, and an ability to achieve results—she is perfectly-suited to lead these key initiatives, enabling us to provide even better service to our readers, viewers and advertisers.”
Thomson has served two stints as an executive at the Times. She was appointed to her current post in May 2011 and is responsible for overseeing all editorial, advertising sales, business services, marketing and operational functions.
“I am looking forward to working with our other publishing units to ensure that we push boundaries and operate as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Thomson said. “Our core mission of providing the highest-quality news for our readers and influential and engaged audiences for our advertisers is dependent on transforming our businesses.”
Before returning to the Times, Thomson served 18 months as VP/business operations at FLO TV Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm, Inc. Prior to that, she was chief of staff at the Times from September 2008 through 2009, responsible for new initiatives, projects and project planning.
Thomson joined LATMG from Energy Innovations, where she was the company’s chief operating officer. Before that, she spent 15 years in roles of increasing responsibility at DIRECTV, closing her career there as SVP/sales and marketing operations. As a member of the senior management team, she oversaw a number of transformational initiatives to reduce customer churn and increase revenue.
Under Thomson’s leadership, the Times successfully launched its membership program, expanding the traditional subscription model to include digital content. Since February 2012, the number of unique visitors to latimes.com has increased 10 percent, and consistent with the company’s strategic focus on entertainment, page views for last month’s online Oscar coverage were up 100 percent year-over-year.
Late last summer, the Times also rolled-out a responsively designed mobile site, dramatically increasing smartphone and tablet page view traffic by 92 percent, unique visitors by 52 percent and overall page per visit engagement by 29 percent over the past six months.