By: E&P Staff
Bob Gremillion — the longtime Tribune Co. executive who now oversees the six smaller dailies that are intended to be the laboratories for radical journalistic and operational change at the debt-ridden company — temporarily takes on the job of publisher of the flagship Chicago Tribune starting Monday.
He told Chicago Tribune media critic Phil Rosenthal, who first reported the appointment, that he expects to be at the helm of the Trib “a couple of months, max.” Gremillion added that he was not seeking and would not accept the publisher job on a permanent basis.
Gremillion, executive vice president for the company’s publishing group, will take over as retiring Publisher Scott C. Smith moves out of Tribune Tower faster than expected. Smith had previously said he would stay in the job until a successor was found.
But Rosenthal reported the move was speeded up by Tribune Co. COO Randy Michaels, who decided Gremillion would be needed as the Trib undergoes a fast-track design change intended to reduce printed pages and the number of employees. The Tribune is under orders to complete the task by September.
“Many of you are already familiar with Bob, and I am confident he’ll do a great job leading the kind of rapid change that needs to be undertaken here in Chicago,” Michaels said in a note to employees.
Gremillion joined Tribune in 1983 when the company bought its New Orleans TV station WGNO-TV, and for years he worked on the broadcast side of the company, overseeing the 1993 launch of its 24-hour local cable news channel in Chicago, CLTV, and serving as general manager of regional program until 1997.
He then became publisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and CEO of the Ft. Lauderdale’s paper’s publishing company. He became executive vice president of the publishing division in May 2007.