Industry Veterans Jeff Gaspin, Peter Murphy Among Those Eyed for Tribune CEO Role (Report)

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CHICAGO - DECEMBER 8:  Flags wave in the wind as the Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, sought bankruptcy court protection from creditors outside the Chicago Tribune building December 8, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. The 161-year-old newspaper and broadcast company was laboring under $12.9 billion in debt, according to today's Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The former NBCUniversal top executive and the former Walt Disney manager are the latest names to be mentioned as potential candidates.

With Tribune Co. hoping to finally win approval for its bankruptcy reorganization plan late this week, new names have been added to a list of possible candidates for the CEO role at the media company.

Former NBCUniversal top executive Jeff Gaspin and Peter Murphy, the former chief strategy officer at Walt Disney during Michael Eisner's time as chairman, are among the latest names that may be considered, the New York Post reported.

Tribune creditors, such as Oaktree Capital Management, have been looking at possible candidates, it said. "Everyone has a different nominee," one person familiar with the executive search told the Post.

Current Tribune president and CEO Eddy Hartenstein is believed to want to stay in his role, according to the paper. But if creditors get the bankruptcy restructuring plan approved, they are likely to want to push through a new management team and board of directors.

Murphy these days runs Wentworth Capital Management. The name of Gaspin, who was former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker’s No. 2 at NBC as chairman of NBC Television, came up a day after the Post had reported Zucker and Dick Clark Productions CEO Mark Shapiro were on a shortlist of possible CEO candidates being eyed by Tribune creditors.

The executive search team also reached out to Sony Television president Steve Mosko, but he recently signed a new deal with Sony, according to the Post.

Zucker is also believed to be a possible candidate for the chairman post currently held by real estate mogul Sam Zell whose debt-driven acquisition of Tribune ultimately led to the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing more than three years ago.

A Tribune spokesman declined to comment.

Tribune Co. includes 23 TV stations, radio stations, as well as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

Twitter: @georgszalai