Michael Ferro is retiring from the board of Tronc ahead of the newspaper chain’s $500 million sale of the Los Angeles Times and other California assets.
Ferro’s retirement is effective immediately, the company said. Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer of Tronc, was named to succeed Ferro as chairman of the company that also owns the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other major daily newspapers. […]
In recent weeks, Ferro has discussed with his fellow board members and the management team his desire to retire as chairman in connection with the closing of the Times transaction, the company said in the news release.
* The rest of the story from Fortune Magazine…
Kathryn Minshew finally felt like a weight had lifted. It was September of 2013, and after months of back-and-forth, Michael Ferro, then-chairman of investment firm Wrapports, had at last signed a term sheet promising her career-advice startup, The Muse, the $750,000 infusion of capital it needed to make it past the end of the year. Now, at Ferro’s suggestion, the two were headed to his company’s corporate apartment in downtown Chicago for an evening of takeout and discussion of how The Muse might go on to a land a much bigger round of funding.
But once they stepped into the apartment, Ferro seemed to forget about their plans to strategize. He poured two glasses of bourbon and, giving one to Minshew, put his hand on the back of her head and pulled her face in for a kiss, she says. Although the move was forceful enough that she couldn’t pull away, she says she was able to turn her head so that Ferro’s lips landed on her cheek. […]
Less than three years later in Las Vegas during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, Hagan Kappler says she found herself in a similar position—at a private dinner in Ferro’s Aria hotel suite under the pretense of doing business. Kappler, then an executive at manufacturing giant Ingersoll Rand, thought she was there to talk thermostats with Ferro, who had recently sold his healthcare startup to IBM. Instead, Kappler says he repeatedly wrapped his arms around her from behind. She told him he was in her space and that she didn’t like it. Then he did it again, this time groping her breast. […]
On Monday, Ferro announced that he was retiring from the board of directors of Tronc, and that CEO Justin Dearborn would succeed him as chairman. Ferro will still be paid $5 million-per-year by Tronc through Dec. 31, 2020, to serve as a consultant. […]
Fortune reached out to Ferro last week with the details of both women’s accounts. Through a spokesman, he declined to be interviewed and did not address or dispute any of the specific allegations made by Minshew and Kappler or others in this story.
Today Ferro’s spokesman provided this statement to Fortune: “Over more than 20 years of leading public companies and other enterprises, Michael Ferro has never had a claim filed against him nor a settlement made on his behalf. Your on-the-record allegations appear to involve private conduct with private individuals who were not employees of tronc or any other company he ran. As recently announced, Mr. Ferro has retired back to private life after leading a financial turnaround of tronc as the non-executive chairman. There will, therefore, be no other comment.”
* More layoffs hit Chicago Tribune newsroom: Thursday’s layoffs and the uncertainty surrounding them may help fortify an effort to unionize Tribune editorial employees. Last week a group of staffers met with representatives of the Chicago News Guild, longtime bargaining agent for the Sun-Times and numerous suburban papers. The meeting was described as preliminary to a full-scale organizing effort.