Former Los Angeles Times Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson has taken an executive position with Yucaipa Cos., the private investment firm that last year joined in a bid to buy the newspaper's parent, Tribune Co. of Chicago.
Johnson will be a principal in Los Angeles-based Yucaipa, founded by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, and will oversee its current media interests, which include parts of former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV channel and Source Interlink, a major distributor of magazines and CDs.
Johnson gained wide attention last year when he and then-Editor Dean Baquet defied demands by Tribune to cut the editorial staff of The Times. Weeks later, Tribune forced Johnson to resign. Not long after, Baquet also left under pressure.
Yucaipa executives said Thursday that the hiring of the former newspaper boss was unrelated to the private equity firm's joint bid in November for Tribune, whose holdings include The Times, 10 other daily newspapers, 23 television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.