Television veteran Mitchell Stern has been named president and chief executive officer at Freedom Communications. A member of Freedom's board of directors, Stern previously served as president/CEO of DirecTV U.S.
"We are very pleased that Mitch has agreed to lead Freedom Communications as its chief executive officer," said Chairman of the Board James Dunning Jr. "With his 30 years of experience in the media industry, he brings a wealth of experience and forward-thinking to the job. 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."
Stern starts July 1. He succeeds Burl Osborne, who as interim CEO led Freedom out of bankruptcy this spring. Osborne will remain on the board of directors and will serve as a special advisor to Freedom.
"As we welcome Mitch into his new role, I also want to take the opportunity to recognize and thank Burl Osborne for the outstanding job he did as Interim CEO for the past year," said Dunning. "He stepped in at a critical time and his leadership was instrumental in helping Freedom move rapidly through a sometimes difficult and ultimately successful restructuring."
Stern says Freedom is poised to thrive in the challenging environment facing media today. "There is a multitude of talent at Freedom and a real desire on the part of everyone to move forward and create new ways of serving the company's many communities. 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 was chairman and CEO of Fox Television Stations from 1998 to 2003 and president/COO from 1993 to 2003. At the station level, he was vice president and station manager at KTTV Los Angeles from 1990 to 1992, and vice president and CFO at KTTV from 1986 to 1990.
Irvine-based Freedom owns around 100 newspapers and eight TV stations, including WPEC West Palm Beach and WRGB Albany.
Freedom exited bankruptcy April 30.