?O.C. Register? Parent Names Mitch Stern CEO

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Freedom Communications looked to its new board of directors for its post-bankruptcy leader, naming Mitchell Stern as CEO of the Orange County Register parent on Tuesday.

Stern is the former chairman and CEO of Fox Television Stations Inc. and DirectTV Inc. U.S.

“We are very pleased that Mitch has agreed to lead Freedom Communications as its chief executive officer,” Freedom Chairman James Dunning Jr.said in a statement.  “With his 30 years of experience in the media industry, he brings a wealth of experience and forward-thinking to the job. His talents as both a strategic thinker and a hands-on executive are a perfect fit for Freedom and make him the right person to lead our talented associates and diverse properties in tackling the challenges of the new media environment.”

Stern, 54, takes over two months after irvine, Calif.-based Freedom emerged from Chapter 11 bankrtupcy protection, which reduced its debt by $450 million. In its restructuring, the publisehr was taken over by its senior lenders.

“With its local focus and national breadth and with a successful restructuring behind it, Freedom is perfectly positioned to demonstrate what it means to be a new kind of media company,” Stern said in a statement. “My job from day one will be to focus all our talents and energies on achieving that goal.”

Stern succeeds Burl Osborne, who had been interim CEO for the last year, replacing Scott Flanders. Osborne will remain on the board and serve as special advisor,  the company said.

Stern was among five new directors who joined the board after Freedom emergered from bankrtupcy.

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