Tribune Co. of Chicago announced Tuesday that Dennis J. FitzSimons, president and chief operating officer, has been elected CEO, effective Jan. 1.
Current CEO and Chairman John W. Madigan will remain as board chairman until Dec. 31, 2003, when he plans to retire. He said he will leave the Tribune board in May 2004.
In a statement, Madigan, 65, praised FitzSimons for leading the company during “one of the most challenging economic times in recent history” and for encouraging growth through the creation of Tribune Media Net (a national sales operation) and the Red Eye youth paper.
FitzSimons, 52, joined Triubne in 1982 in sales for WGN-TV in Chicago. After holding several positions for Tribune Broadcasting Co., he became president of the group in 1994. Under his leadership, Tribune’s TV stations grew from six to 24. Tribune said FitzSimons was instrumental in the development of the WB Network, which is partly owned by Tribune.
FitzSimons has also worked to increase content sharing and cross-selling and cross-promotion between Tribune’s newspapers, TV stations, and interactive businesses.
Madigan became CEO in 1995 and was named chairman in 1996. He joined Tribune in 1975.