WASHINGTON — Newspaper publisher Tronc has named CEO Justin Dearborn as its chairman of the board, replacing Michael Ferro, who is retiring.
The change announced Monday shortly before Fortune magazine published a story about two women who allege that Ferro made unwanted sexual advances during 2013 and 2016 before he become Tronc’s chairman.
“Michael Ferro has had no claims filed against him while leading Tronc as chairman,” Tronc said in a statement. “Further, we are aware of no claims filed against Mr. Ferro throughout his career. As Mr. Ferro has retired after leading a financial turnaround of Tronc, we wish him well in his private life and will have no further comment.”
Ferro struck it rich as an entrepreneur involved in two startups that were sold for more than $1 billion. In 2016, he bought a stake in the Tribune Co, which was subsequently renamed as Tronc.
Chicago-based Tronc Inc., which operates newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun, announced last month it had sold the Los Angeles Times and other papers for $500 million and an additional $90 million in pension benefits.
“Michael retires having created considerable shareholder value for the company in just two years as chairman of the board,” Dearborn said, adding that the company had tripled its market capitalization, quadrupled its cash holdings and reduced its debt under Ferro’s leadership.
Dearborn was appointed CEO of Tronc in February 2016. He previously led Merge Healthcare until its acquisition by IBM for $1 billion in October 2015.