There have been many rumors floating around that Sam Zell, the gnomish CEO of the bankrupt Chicago Tribune Co., would soon be sent out to pasture. Unfortunately for everyone involved, especially the employees, that may not be the case.
A few weeks back we caught wind of talk that Zell would give up his stake of the company and walk away, head hung low but relatively intact. Well, now anonymous sources say that the "jury is still out" on Zell and that he may, in fact, be sticking around. Wha?!
Apparently the company's creditors, who supported bankruptcy, aren't entirely sure if they're ready to give him the boot. Nor is he necessarily ready to leave the company, which he helped take private back in 2007.
Now the company's barreling toward its inevitable restructuring and hoping it can salvage something from this fucking disaster. Still, despite the doom and gloom hanging over the company, chief operating officer Randy Michaels recently sent out a memo in which he asserts the managing team, which includes Zell, and its lenders are happy with the ways things have been going.
While the ownership structure of the company is likely to change, current operating management is committed, and intends to remain in place during and after the restructuring.
Why? We haven't the foggiest. Zell's 2007 privatization only brought on more debt. He also reportedly dragged his feet on selling the Chicago Cubs, which brought in a scant $845 million and his presence created a general sense of unease for the company, its staff and the rest of us.
In the meantime, the company's negotiating its new structure and hopes to clear itself of nearly $12 billion in debt. It's good to have goals. Of course, the company's being sued by bondholders and employees who saw failure from the get-go. Perhaps they should be in charge?