Former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels Hopes to Land Another Media Job: 'My Phone's Been Ringing'

10:24 PM PST 10/31/2010 by Kimberly Nordyke

The executive, who resigned less than two weeks ago after allegations of unprofessional behavior, says 'there are a lot of people who look past noise and emotions and look at results.'

A week after resigning from his post as Tribune CEO, Randy Michaels told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to return to a career in media.

"I may go buy some media, I may go run some media, I don't know," he said. "My phone's been ringing. There are a lot of people who look past noise and emotions and look at results."

Michaels resigned from his position Oct. 22, two weeks after a New York Times report accused him of shocking sexual behavior and creating a "frat house" workplace with "pervasive sex talk."

Among the allegations are that Michaels offered a waitress $100 to show him her breasts while dining with colleagues and had a loud conversation in a work area with Tribune Interactive's Marc Chase "about the sexual suitability of various employees."

Michaels will be replaced by an Executive Council, a four-member office that will be responsible for stabilizing the company, until the Tribune Co. and its creditors can agree on a restructuring plan. The Tribune Co. has been in the middle of bankruptcy court and filings for two years.

Michaels said his main regret is that he tried to implement changes too quickly while the company itself was in flux and rumors about management were circulating.

"The environment at Tribune was inclusive, tolerant, fun, creative and sometimes irreverent, but with a purpose," Michaels said.

He also said a "careless" and "indefensible" memo that a former senior executive, Lee Abrams, sent to staff -- linking to a fake news segment featuring nudity -- led to his downfall at Tribune.

Michaels, who was hired in 2007 by Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell, said he wasn't asked to resign, nor did he plead to keep his job upon meeting with the board a couple weeks ago. Instead, he "presented different options to the board, but not in the form of a plea."

"The fact is I decided to resign because I thought this had become an issue that was distracting, that my ability to continue to lead the company was in serious question," Michaels said. "I'll probably take a couple days, go to Europe, come back and make some decisions." 

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