MARK H. WILLES, a General Mills executive and former senior Federal Reserve official, has been named chief executive of Times Mirror Co., succeeding Robert F. Erburu.
According to an announcement, Willes, 53, a native of Salt Lake City, will become president and CEO June 1 and will take on the title of chairman when Erburu retires on Jan. 1, 1996.
Willes also will become a Times Mirror director.
Erburu, who will be 65 in September, plans to remain a director of the company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New York Newsday, the Baltimore Sun and other businesses, including a book publishing firm, cable television and magazines.
Erburu, a lawyer who joined the company in 1961 as general counsel, has been Times Mirror president and CEO since 1974.
He succeeded Otis Chandler as chairman in 1986.
Willes, an economist by training, graduated from Columbia University in New York and received a Ph.D. from the Columbia Graduate School of Business.
At General Mills, he reportedly played a key role in reversing the company's diversification strategy and focusing on its core food products.
At 35, he was the youngest person elected by the Federal Reserve governors to head a district bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
In an interview with the Times, Willes was optimistic about the future of newspapers, terming them a "very user-friendly, consumer-friendly thing. They are very easy to access."
He said that although Times Mirror is strong in product development, its future challenge will be to develop new and interesting products that will appeal to consumers.
By: M.L. Stein Joins the media company from General Mills sp.