IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Mitchell Stern, a former head of Fox Television Stations and DirecTV, was named Tuesday as the new chief executive officer of Freedom Communications Inc., the media company that owns The Orange County Register.
Stern, 54, will suceed interim CEO Burl Osborne on Thursday, the Irvine-based company said. Stern is on the board of the company, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two months ago.
Freedom owns eight television stations, 27 daily newspapers and about 70 weekly newspapers, magazines and other specialty publications. Earlier this year it sold the East Valley Tribune after originally announcing it would shut the paper down.
"With his 30 years of experience in the media industry, he brings a wealth of experience and forward-thinking to the job," board Chairman James Dunning Jr. said in a statement. "His talents as both a strategic thinker and a hands-on executive are a perfect fit for Freedom and make him the right person to lead our talented associates and diverse properties in tackling the challenges of the new media environment."
"With its local focus and national breadth and with a successful restructuring behind it, Freedom is perfectly positioned to demonstrate what it means to be a new kind of media company," Stern said in a statement. "My job from day one will be to focus all our talents and energies on achieving that goal."
Stern headed Fox TV and its Twentieth Century syndication arm from 1998 to 2003, when he left to serve as president and CEO of DirecTV Inc. U.S. He abruptly left the satellite television company two years later.