Osberg out as PMN CEO, Hall in

At PMH, Greg Osberg and Bob Hall. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
At PMH, Greg Osberg and Bob Hall. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 14, 2012

WELL, THAT was quick.

Greg Osberg, the publisher and chief executive officer of Philadelphia Media Network — the parent company of the Daily News, Inquirer, Philly.com and SportsWeek— stepped down on Friday, a little more than a month after a group of local investors bought the company for $55 million.

The 54-year-old Paoli native had served as the publisher since 2010, when the media company emerged from a lengthy bankruptcy in the hands of out-of-town hedge- fund groups.

Osberg is being replaced by a familiar face: Bob Hall. Hall, 67, was the publisher of the Daily News and Inquirer from 1990 to 2003, when the papers were owned by Knight Ridder, the national newspaper chain that is now but a memory.

He returned to the papers in 2010 to serve as the chief operating officer. During an interview on Friday, Hall said the company’s new owners have “no plans to close the Daily News.”

Hall said he wants to reach out to PMN’s readers and advertisers to gauge their feelings about the newspapers and its website, and to assure them that the company is finally stable after experiencing four ownership changes in six years.

Osberg said he believed it was the “right time for me to step aside, so that our new owners can move forward with a new leadership team.”

Osberg said he will serve for the foreseeable future as an adviser to PMN on digital strategies and advertising sales, while he considers what to do next.

“We are pleased that Greg has agreed to continue to work with the company to drive advertising sales and help formulate digital strategies,” Lewis Katz, one of PMN’s comanaging partners, said in a statement. “And we are very confident that the company will thrive under the seasoned leadership of Bob Hall, who is known and respected throughout the industry as a first-class professional.”

Osberg said he took the publisher’s job believing that it would only last for two years, given the previous hedge fund owners’ predilection for selling properties soon after they acquire them.

Osberg said he focused on trying to find local investors who could provide the company with some long-term stability, while also trying to get the company to develop digital initiatives.

"We are pleased that Greg has agreed to continue to work with the company to drive advertising sales and help formulate digital strategies," Lewis Katz, one of PMN's managing partners, said in a statement. "And we are very confident that the company will thrive under the seasoned leadership of Bob Hall, who is known and respected throughout the industry as a first-class professional." 

Osberg said that he took the publisher's job believing that it would only last for two years, given the previous hedge-fund owners' predilection for selling properties soon after they acquire them. 

Osberg said he focused on trying to find local investors who could provide the company with some long-term stability, while trying to get the company to develop digital initiatives.

Contact David Gambacorta at 215-854-5994, gambacd@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @dgambacorta.

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