Tribune Company (NYSE:TRB) celebrated 20 years as a public company, discussed financial performance, honored retired Chairman John Madigan, and recognized employee contributions at today’s 2004 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
“Today we celebrate Tribune’s 20 years of success as a public company, and the value we’ve created since our initial public offering in 1983,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune Company chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Since then, our stock has generated a 16 percent annualized total return to shareholders, which ranks Tribune in the top 20 percent of publicly traded companies in the S&P 500 over the last 20 years. We have many reasons to be confident as we look toward the future.”
Tribune Broadcasting President Patrick Mullen reported on the company’s television operations and said, “2004 should be another good year, particularly as we progress through the summer and fall when political spending will tighten up the overall advertising marketplace.”
Jack Fuller, president of Tribune Publishing, pointed to an improving economy and a rebound in help wanted advertising as reasons for confidence in 2004. “Improvement in the economy is creating jobs in all of our newspaper markets, and jobs drive growth in every other sector,” said Fuller. “The most direct effect of this is in our help wanted business.”
The meeting also recognized the leadership of recently retired Chairman John Madigan, who was instrumental in transitioning Tribune from a private enterprise to a public company. “John’s contributions to Tribune go far beyond the numbers,” said FitzSimons. “His leadership, dedication and vision have been an integral part of our success.”
The meeting paid special tribute to the Tribune’s 4,500 journalists based in the U.S. and around the world and honored several employees for excellence:
- Tribune Journalism Awards – Dan Tracy, Orlando Sentinel senior reporter, received the print journalism award for a series of stories documenting pervasive problems in new home construction in Central Florida . The broadcast journalism award went to a team at WLVI-TV in Boston . Reporter Terrel Harris, producer-editor Jimmy Clark and cameraman Stevie Carro won for a series that focused on recovering drug addicts.
- Tribune Readership Innovation Award – The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye edition was honored for increasing readership among younger readers. General manager John O’Loughlin and editors Jane Hirt and Joe Knowles won the award for their leadership at the newspaper.
The company also presented its highest honors, the Tribune Management Award and the Tribune Values Award. This year’s winners are:
- Tribune Management Award – Steve Brooks, Chicago Tribune director of regional advertising, won for championing the implementation of a zoning strategy to better serve readers and advertisers.
- Tribune Values Award – The Baltimore Sun’s Lenora Howze, vice president of advertising, Annie Hager, director of local retail advertising, and Deborah Bennett, director of sales development were honored for the teamwork they displayed during the implementation of a new advertising program targeted to customer needs.
In other business at the meeting, shareholders re-elected Jeffrey Chandler, William Osborn and Kathryn Turner to three-year terms on the board of directors. Shareholders also ratified the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers as independent accountants for Tribune for 2004 and approved amendments to the 1997 Tribune Company Incentive Compensation Plan.
At its regularly scheduled meeting earlier in the day, Tribune’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $.12 per share on the common stock of the company. The dividend will be paid on June 10, 2004 , to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 27, 2004.