(UPDATE) Brian Tierney Returns to the Inquirer; Lexie Norcross Out at Philly.com

As owner, publisher, Tierney steered the papers into bankruptcy.

[UPDATE 3:23 pm] Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Lexie Norcross, daughter of departing owner George Norcross, is out at Philly.com:

An IGM spokesman confirmed that Lexie Norcross, daughter of George Norcross, will depart the company and her position as vice president of digital operations when the sale of the company is approved. That is scheduled to happen June 11 but with Katz’s death, that could be extended if the judge deems there to be any issues with his estate.

Lexie Norcross, 26, was a controversial figure partly because of her age and relation to George Norcross. But she also was accused of downplaying hard news in favor of fluff and tawdry stories, establishing a Philly.com newsroom that competed against Inquirer and Daily News reporters and giving Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett his own column. The two newspapers launched their own websites last year with most of the content behind pay walls.

[UPDATE 10:57 am] Lenfest follows up: “A point of clarification: In my enthusiasm for getting Brian Tierney on board, I indicated that he would be taking a leave of absence from his agency. Although he will be providing his support and attention as interim special advisor to the publisher, Brian will not be taking a leave from his company during this period.”

[ORIGINAL] Brian Tierney, the man who nearly a decade ago restored local ownership to the Inquirer and Daily News — then steered the papers into bankruptcy — is returning to the Inquirer, Interim Publisher Gerry Lenfest announced Monday morning.

“Brian Tierney will take a leave of absence from his firm to become an advisor to me focusing on advertising,” Lenfest said in an email to the the employees of the papers and Philly.com.

Tierney will be accompanied by a member of his old regime: Mark Frisby, who served as publisher of the Daily News under Tierney, “will become Associate Publisher for Operations effective immediately.”

This isn’t Tierney’s first return to the paper. He reportedly returned to the Inquirer last year on a $25,000-a-month salary to engineer a national sales campaign for the paper; the deal fell apart after it became public, and reports later suggested that he generated little revenue during his short tenure.

Among reporters at the Inquirer and Daily News, Frisby is probably best-remembered for collecting a $150,000 bonus — on top of his salary — as the company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.

Lenfest also announced that George Loesch, the outspoken head of sales and marketing for the company that owns the papers, will assist during the transition for as long as needed.