CHICAGO: The changing of the guard at US newspaper giant Tribune Company has begun with the departure of chairman/ceo Dennis FitzSimons, and the coronation of new billionaire owner Sam Zell (pictured).

The 66-year-old has, as expected, assumed the chairman's mantle following the inking of the $8.2 billion (45.7bn; £4.1bn) deal. His shouldering of the ceo responsibility has come as more of a surprise.

FitzSimons, for his part, will work until the end of the year and looks forward to a euphoric 2008 with a severance package worth upward of $38 million.

Under the new command, Chicago Tribune publisher Scott Smith and Los Angeles Times publisher David Hiller are expected to report directly to Zell, while his longtime associate Randy Michaels is likely to be named head of broadcasting and internet operations.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff