Beantown Brouhaha: Two Metro Execs Quit, 'Herald' Files DOJ Complaint

By: Jennifer Saba Two Metro International executives who told racial jokes during a 2003 corporate meeting stepped down yesterday, according to The Boston Globe.

Steve Nylund, president of Metro's North American subsidiary, and Hans Holger-Albrecht, a director on Metro International's board both stepped down. Nylund will remain executive vice president of Metro International.

The Globe also reported today that the Boston Herald has filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department against the recently announced deal between Metro Boston and The New York Times Co.

Metro has been dealing with controversy since Times Co., which owns the Globe, announced on Jan. 3 that it was investing $16.5 million for a 49% stake in the free Boston Metro.

Immediately, Patrick Purcell, owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, announced he would challenge the deal on the grounds that it was anticompetitive. "We are going to formally protest this," Purcell told E&P. "The Globe is already in a dominant position. ... This is an attempt to garner more ad dollars in the market."

When asked if the Herald had ever considered buying a stake in Metro Boston, Purcell said that last year they had talked to the free daily about a "production contract that didn't go anywhere." Purcell said that is not the reason he is challenging the Times Co.

Catherine Mathis, a Times Co. spokeswoman, told E&P her company has not seen the papers.

Criticism escalated earlier this week, when media Web site reported that the Nylund and Holger-Albrecht told racial jokes during a 2003 sales conference in Rome.

Days later Nylund apologized for his remarks and explained that the joke was lost in translation.

The Times Co. said in a statement: "The Times Co. is committed to fair treatment of all employees based on respect, accountability and standards of excellence. As part of our continuing due diligence on the investment in Metro Boston, we are closely reviewing the steps that Metro International is taking to address recent reports of inappropriate comments by some of its staff and the process it pursues to ensure that it adheres to the highest standards of corporate behavior."


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