Sam Zell, Asshole, Leaving Tribune, After Destroying It

Gnomish billionaire Sam Zell has announced that he'll soon be leaving Tribune Co: "I will turn it over to whoever the creditors decide they want to run it, and wish them a lot of good luck." Thanks for nothing, jerk.

  • 2007: Sam Zell, a man with no experience in the media industry, takes control of the Tribune Co, using a tiny bit of his own money and a whole lot of his employees' money. In retrospect, this was about the worst possible time that anyone could have bought a newspaper company: prices were still high, and prospects were terrible.
  • As a manager, Sam Zell turns out to be a profane asshole. This plain-spokenness is a mark of genius! You'll see!
  • Tribune's new employee handbook says, in essence, laugh at all jokes, or you suck. In retrospect, that should have been a red flag.
  • Zell continues to be an asshole. That wasn't just a one-time thing. His tough talk is just what the old company needs!
  • Zell's handpicked managers, pulled from the ranks of the radio industry, were, in retrospect, not the best choices.
  • The newspaper industry continues to go to hell. Tribune gets chainsawed.
  • It gets so bad that the company and its employees are suing each other.
  • Tribune goes bankrupt. In retrospect, its employees will wish that the company hadn't been purchased with their pension money.
  • The company gets a big old press beatdown. And now, Zell's out, on a terrible note. Our condolences to all of his victims.