Conrad Black resigns from Hollinger post

/ Source: The Associated Press

Conrad Black stepped aside Tuesday as chairman and chief executive of Hollinger Inc., the Toronto-based holding company which has voting control over newspaper publisher Hollinger International Inc.

The resignation came just as a Toronto court was scheduled to hear a shareholder demand for Black’s resignation. Black has announced his intention to buy out the minority investors and take Hollinger Inc. private.

The main asset of the company is its 18 percent equity interest and 68 percent voting control of Chicago-based Hollinger International, which recently sold The Daily Telegraph of London for $1.2 billion. The company still owns the Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post and other media assets.

Black had said last Friday he would resign to clear the way for the proposed buyout.

Black’s decision to leave Hollinger Inc. came as Catalyst Fund General Partner I Inc., a recent investor in Hollinger Inc., sought to have him and several others removed by an Ontario judge.

Black has already been ousted as chairman and chief executive at Hollinger International, after an internal investigation found that he and others looted the company of hundreds of millions of dollars.

If Black succeeds in taking Hollinger Inc. private, it would be subject to fewer regulatory requirements, such as publishing quarterly financial results and keeping independent directors on its board.

Black faces court cases and regulatory investigations in Canada and the United States stemming from the Hollinger accounting controversy. He has denied misappropriating money and has argued that independent directors of Hollinger International approved the disputed transactions.

Hollinger International on Friday refiled the bulk of a previously dismissed case against Black and his associates, intent on winning back more than $500 million in damage it says they inflicted on the company.