Nils Larsen has exited as Tribune Broadcasting's President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as exiting Tribune Company as a whole. This includes ending his role as Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer for Tribune Company.
Larsen's exit was confirmed to CRM by a spokesperson for Tribune Company today, but no official statement will be made on the exit.
Larsen is a longtime business associate and friend of former Tribune Chairman/owner Sam Zell. It was "financial whiz kid" Nils Larsen, along with Randy Michaels, who had helped Zell gain a huge profit on his investments in Ohio radio company Jacor Communications in 1999.
Larsen joined Tribune in December 2008, overseeing Tribune Company's business development for Sam Zell. In December 2009, Larsen was made the Chief Investment Officer for Tribune Company. After controversial Tribune Company CEO Randy Michaels was forced out in October 2010, Larsen was one of four executives named to run the company, adding the title of Tribune Broadcasting Chairman. In May 2011, Nils Larsen was named as the President and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting Company, despite never having worked a single day in his life in any broadcasting field.
Most in the industry knew that Larsen was never put in the Tribune Broadcasting role to advance the company's broadcasting division, but rather to have him watch carefully over the finances of the division while it struggled to exit bankruptcy for years. Tribune Company finally exited bankruptcy on December 31st.
Prior to joining Tribune Company, Larsen worked as a financial analyst with CS First Boston until 1995. In 1995, he joined the Sam Zell-owned Equity Group Investments, LLC. In 2001, he was promoted to Managing Director of Equity Group Investments, a role he has held on to, even though also working for Tribune Company.
Last month, veteran Chicago media executive Larry Wert took over as Tribune Broadcasting's new President of Local Broadcasting. Wert now reports directly to Tribune Company's new CEO, Peter Liguori, who also is choosing to be very "hands-on" with the company's television properties. Also hired last month and reporting directly to Liguori was Matt Cherniss, who now serves as President & General Manager of both the new Tribune Studios, as well as the the company's cable/satellite superstation, WGN America.
Between Liguori, Wert, and Cherniss -- all of whom have extensive television and media experience -- there was no longer a role for the broadcasting-inexperienced Larsen.