Spokeswoman leaves LA Times 14

By: Lucia Moses The Los Angeles Times' chief spokeswoman Laura Morgan has resigned after 27 years with the company to go into consulting.
Succeeding Morgan is Mike Lange, her communications manager.
After 14 years of being the Times chief spokeswoman through "earthquakes to riots to reorganizations," Morgan says she decided she wants to "find the next chapter of my life." She says she will take a couple months off before talking to companies about communications consulting.
Bonnie G. Hill, senior vice president of communications and public affairs and Morgan's boss, says Morgan brought loyalty and professionalism to the job. Morgan told Hill her plans about a month ago and stayed through March 12 to smooth the transition, Hill says.
"We had a great working relationship," Hill says. "Laura just felt like it was time to look for other opportunities. Right now, she's taking a long-deserved break."
Morgan, 50, joined the Times in 1972 in the marketing department before becoming spokeswoman.
Times executives say Morgan's leaving is unrelated to other recent departures at the newspaper, which has undergone major restructuring in the past few years. Other recent departures include Jaynie Studenmund, who resigned in February as chief marketing officer to be a full-time mother. Studenmund had been on the job two months. Her predecessor, Jeffrey S. Klein, had left three months earlier to start his own company.
"There's no smoking gun" in her own case, Morgan says.
Mark Willes, CEO of the Times' parent company, Times Mirror, shuffled the editorial and business departments and cut staff as part of his strategy to integrate the news and marketing departments and grow circulation, moves that won him praise from investors but shook newsroom orthodoxy. Part of Morgan's job in the public affairs office was to communicate those changes to the public and media.
"There's been a lot of knee-jerk reaction without attempting to understand and analyze," says Lange, 50, who was hired by Morgan in 1994. "The challenge was to get past the knee-jerk reaction by a lot of journalists that change is bad."
In December, the public affairs office was reorganized to help promote the newspaper's regional growth strategy announced earlier that month. Hill was promoted to head the department and two new regional public affairs director positions were created to complement two existing director positions; the directors were put in charge of regional outreach efforts. As part of the changes, Morgan reported directly to Hill instead of to an intermediary as before.
Morgan says after working for four publishers, she's used to organizational changes. She called Willes "a tremendous motivator" who is "very respected for his leadership and his candor."
"I think Mark is a pivotal person for the industry right now. He really has done what no one else was able to do, spur the conversation about growth," she says.


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