Tribune CEO Randy Michaels Will Be Going Away Soon

by Liz Colville

Tribune Company CEO Randy Michaels, who has been ensnared in controversy after a lengthy New York Times article revealed numerous instances of vulgar behavior at the company, will reportedly be resigning this week. The Los Angeles Times cites a source saying Michaels is leaving “willingly,” and will be replaced by a “four-member office of the president.”

The news comes days after the bankrupt company’s chief innovation officer, Lee Abrams, was suspended, then offered his resignation, after sending an inappropriate video to the entire company via e-mail.

The New York Times piece, written by David Carr, portrays Abrams and particularly Michaels as fun-loving men with lewd senses of humor who have encouraged a “frat house” atmosphere at the company “complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk.” After his installment by Sam Zell, who bought the ailing company in 2007, Michaels, a former radio DJ and Clear Channel executive, led in the rewriting of the employee handbook to include passages like the following:

Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use. You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process…This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.

Then, of course, there was the night Michaels gave an InterContinental Hotel waitress $100 to take off her shirt in front of several other company executives, which, you know, shouldn’t be considered harassment.

Here’s a slice of vintage Michaels from his radio days for your viewing pleasure.

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