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L.A. Times Publisher Leaves

The move follows a dispute over ordered layoffs.

Tribune (TRB) named David D. Hiller publisher of its Los Angeles Times paper, replacing Jeff Johnson, who resigned.

Johnson had been publisher of the Times since March 2005. He won plaudits from journalists and community leaders for resisting a company-ordered round of job cuts earlier this year. Los Angeles business leaders have expressed interest in buying the paper from Tribune, which is under pressure from restive shareholders to take action to boost the stock price.

"Jeff and I agreed that this change is best at this time because Tribune and Times executives need to be aligned on how to shape our future," said Scott Smith, Tribune Publishing president. "We thank Jeff for his leadership of important advances at the Times and his significant contributions during his Tribune career."

"David Hiller is the best media executive to lead the Times as it continues to innovate to serve the changing needs of its customers," said Smith. "He has held a number of key executive positions during his 18 years with Tribune Company, and has outstanding publishing as well as new media experience."

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The move comes a month after Johnson sided with the paper's editor, Dean Baquet, in protesting further job cuts at the 125-year-old paper. The paper said that Tribune was expected to ask Baquet to remain as editor.