Dennis J. FitzSimons
Dennis J. FitzSimons is Chairman of the Board of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The Foundation focuses its charitable giving on early childhood education, journalism, military veterans, First Amendment rights and citizenship, seeing its mission as advancing the ideals of a free, democratic society.
FitzSimons served as Chairman/CEO of Tribune Company until December 2007, stepping down upon completing the sale of the company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Sam Zell. The transaction brought to a close a 25-year career at the company. FitzSimons’ first 17 years were spent in the broadcast division where he rose through the ranks of the television group, joining the company as sales manager of WGN-TV and holding positions as general manager of WGNO-TV, New Orleans; general manager of WGN-TV, Chicago; and then president/CEO, Tribune Broadcasting. FitzSimons was appointed Tribune Company executive vice president in January 2000, with responsibility for the company’s publishing, broadcasting and digital media groups, as well as the Chicago Cubs. He was elected to Tribune’s board of directors in 2000 and named president and chief operating officer of Tribune in July 2001. FitzSimons was named CEO in January 2003 and became chairman a year later.
Prior to Tribune, FitzSimons held a number of sales and marketing positions at Viacom; TeleRep, Inc., a division of Cox Broadcasting; and Blair Television. He started his media career at Grey Advertising in New York.
FitzSimons chaired the Media Security and Reliability Council for the FCC from 2002 to 2004, and was a director of The Associated Press from 2004 to 2007. From 2014-16 he chaired Independent Maps, a bi-partisan state-wide coalition formed to bring redistricting reform to Illinois via constitutional amendment. He is a trustee of Northwestern University, a member of the Medill School of Journalism Board of Advisors, serves as a director of the Museum of Science and Industry and the Big Shoulders Fund, each in Chicago. He is the board vice president of Off The Street Club, a boys and girls club on Chicago’s West Side. He is a longtime member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and a Business Council member from 2003-2012. FitzSimons was honored as U.S. Broadcaster of the Year in 2003, received the American Horizon Award from the Media Institute in 2003, and the Good Samaritan Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation in 2005.
FitzSimons has served as a director of Time Inc. since its spin-off from Time Warner in June 2014 until its sale to Meredith Corporation in January 2018. He was a member of both the Audit and Compensation Committees. FitzSimons also served as a director of Media General, Inc., a publicly-traded Richmond, Virginia-based diversified media company with interests in television and digital media from June 2009 to January 2017, chairing the Compensation Committee and serving as lead independent director in the year prior to the company’s sale. Media General was acquired by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and he continues to serve as a director of Nexstar, one of the largest local broadcasters in the nation.
A native of New York, FitzSimons holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fordham University. He and his wife, Ann have three adult children, Matthew, Christine and Jeanne, and reside in Chicago.