PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The publisher and CEO of the city's two biggest newspapers stepped down on Friday, saying it was time for the new owners to bring in their own leadership team.
Greg Osberg's announcement came about six weeks after a group of local business leaders and powerbrokers bought The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and their shared website, Philly.com.
Osberg had led parent company Philadelphia Media Network since 2010, when the struggling newspapers were sold at a bankruptcy auction to a consortium of hedge funds and banks for $139 million. He is being replaced by current Chief Operating Officer Bob Hall.
"When I took over as publisher," Osberg said in a company statement, "my priorities were to stabilize the company as it emerged from bankruptcy, expand its digital initiatives and identify and secure new local ownership of the company."
In April, the media properties were bought for $55 million by a group headed by influential New Jersey business executive George Norcross III, former New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz and cable TV mogul H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest.
Osberg faced criticism for interfering with stories about the sale. Still, Katz on Friday described Osberg's leadership as being "instrumental" in bringing together the new owners. It was the fifth time in six years that the newspapers have been sold.
Even as the publications have been decimated by layoffs and declining revenues, the Inquirer and Daily News have won Pulitzer Prizes, journalism's highest honor, in the past two years.
Hall, the incoming publisher and CEO, previously held those titles at the newspapers from 1990 to 2003. He returned as chief operating officer in 2010.
Osberg said he is being retained by Philadelphia Media Network Inc. as an adviser on digital strategies and advertising sales. Before heading to Philadelphia, he held executive positions at Buzzwire, Newsweek, CNET and U.S. News & World Report.