Bill Marimow’s ouster this morning may better resemble a coup than a firing. According to sources at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Marimow, the editor in chief, was informed of his dismissal at around 11 a.m. and a memo was sent out to staff announcing he is “no longer employed by Interstate General Media.”
Where it gets tricky is that Marimow’s firing was carried out without permission of the owners.
The memo was sent out by publisher Bob Hall, who did not immediately return a phone call requesting a comment for this article. Daily News reporter Molly Eichel quoted Hall this morning calling the firing “a decision I made.” He further stated the decision did not reflect the ownership.
According to Newspaper Guild executive director Bill Ross, as of this moment, a little after noon, Marimow has yet to leave the building. “It’s clear to a lot of people that there’s been a major rift in the ownership group between George Norcross and Lewis Katz, says Ross, “and this is another symptom of that. However, I do think he is an at-will employee, and the publisher probably has the right to terminate any nonunion employee.”
Ross is unsure if the ownership agreement necessitates that partners be consulted before a move as big as this one. Hall has scheduled a 2 p.m. meeting for Inquirer staff.
Katz and Norcross did not immediately return calls requesting a comment for this article.
Katz and Inquirer City Editor Nancy Phillips are longtime romantic partners. Phillips is a loyalist to Marimow, who is a living symbol of the Inquirer‘s glory days, when Pulitzers rained down on the newsroom in a steady hail. Those days are gone. And now Marimow himself is evidently gone but also there, still sitting in the very office from which he has supposedly been fired.