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TV exec Peter Liguori named CEO of Tribune Co.

Updated: February 26, 2013 2:00PM

The creditors who now control Tribune Co. said Thursday that they have named television executive Peter Liguori as its chief executive officer.

Liguori’s appointment was ratified at the first meeting of the company’s board. Tribune emerged from a four-year bankruptcy at the end of 2012, with ownership assigned to Oaktree Capital Management LP; Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

Bruce Karsh, president and co-founder of Oaktree, was named Tribune chairman.

Analysts expect the owners to try to maximize returns by opportunistically selling pieces of the Chicago-based company’s vast holdings. It owns the Chicago Tribune and WGN TV and radio in Chicago, plus 22 more TV stations and seven more daily newspapers across the country.

Other assets, including Tribune Tower and the Chicago Tribune’s printing and distribution operations, also are candidates for a sale.

Liguori’s prepared statement and his memo to staff didn’t deal with asset sales, focusing instead on opportunities for what he called “iconic brands.”

“In many ways, Tribune is like a 165-year-old startup — there is a lot to build upon,” he said in his statement.

Liguori, 52, is a former executive of Fox Broadcasting and Discovery Communications. He could not be reached for comment, but in an interview with the Chicago Tribune he discussed the possibility of selling assets, including the company’s financially stressed newspapers.

With some investors publicly expressing interest in buying the company’s publications, Liguori told the Chicago Tribune, “I have a fiduciary responsibility to hear those out.”

He succeeds Eddy Hartenstein, who remains on the board and as publisher of the Tribune-owned Los Angeles Times. Hartenstein was named special advisor to Liguori.

Karsh said the board is “very optimistic about Tribune’s future.”

Liguori is best known for energizing Fox’s FX cable channel with original and edgy programming.

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