Dallas Bureau Posting on New Management (Feb. 22, 1988)

Here's a posting by the Dallas bureau after a Feb. 22, 1988, visit from the new management team of Dr. Earl Brian and Paul Steinle:

da staff memo on mtg with new managers
   at 10:00 am, al rossiter introduced the new management team. dr.
earl brian and paul steinle (the ninth upi president in six years).
   brian, who described himself as an american methodist who doesn't
speak spanish, generally described the process by which he and his group
of investors successfully bargained operational control of upi, noting they
had been unsuccessful bidders when v-r bought the company and took it
out of bankruptcy. according to brian, v-r and his people made the first
gesture. he described the deal as "not one of buying the organization" but
of getting the proxies to run te organization. he said most of the
negotiations was "done on the outside" so that the new team only had
limited access to what was going on inside the company. he described the
group's control as "tight, ironclad" and that it has "complete authority for
the next 10 years."
   "we didn't come here to dismantle it; we didn't come here to change it;
we didn't come here to do anything other than come in here on a good faith
effort as people experienced in turnaround management and see what it is
we can do to get this organization moving again."
   brian then introduced steinle, who responded first to a question about
whether the new team would sign a contract with the guild.
   he said they had not yet met with the guild but were skedded to later
today and said a contract would be signed "if we come to the right solution."
they both said they had no "philosophical" objections to the union. brian then
added that "it is absolutely fundamental that we be able to deal with
responsible people who are representatives of the employees of this
   steinle: "our first policy is to learn what's going on here and then we'll make
logical, rational decisions based on that."
   he said "we are thrilled at being here" and noted that his association with
upi goes back to 1969 and saigon when maggie kilgore and leon daniel were
both in vietnam and jim anderson is a good friend. "we were very disappointed
in what happened in 1985" when they lost out in the bidding to v-r.
   steinle said they would be seeking a lot of feedback, from employees etc.
over the next week and that over the weekend they brought in 15 experts --
in legal affairs, corporate affairs, finance and administration, marketing and
sales, editorial, international business, personnel, labor relations, technology
and data processing -- to help get a handle. going to spend the next couple of
weeks "getting a handle" on things here. "after we put that together we'll
start brainstorming. obviously we'll be doing it simultaneously . . ."
   "we're also going to be talking to the news industry," he said, to find out
what they want from us. noted that he had talked to tom winship (of boston
globe), head of the upi newspaper advisory group, who suggested they sit
down and "talk with as many top newspeople in the country."
   mario had two choices: liquidate it or find somebody to run it. he said, "our
goal is not to liquidate it. our goal is to try and make it work and we're going
to do that by building a business plan for it.'
   "you must know by now . . . that the future of upi depends on earning
money and making sense in the marketplace and having the news industry
want it."
   brian was asked why they were not frightened by the amount of money upi
is reported to be losing. "because our opinion is there is within this
organization something that will emerge as a profitable business," brian said.
"secondly, in the last 10 years . . . we have had organizations tht have been
scheduled to lose this kind of money before they got to profitability and the
kinds of investors we deal with understand" the kind of timetables we are
dealing with.
upi 02-22-88 12:03 pcs

194m hs need, pls, coach fosters ballot for bkc poll. rgds. ian-nxs upi 02-22-88 12:03 pcs
195m ne lawyers for antonio james, skedded to die feb 26, today asked justice byron white for stay of execution. will notify u when he acts. neal-scotus upi 02-22-88 12:04 PCs
200m staffmemo-1stadd x x x mistake." asked about immediate cash flow problems -- eviction notices to buros, newspapers not being delivered, expenses, etc., steinle said three people began work at reston at 9:00 am Monday morning trying to get a handle on things but he couldn't say anything would be done by today. asked about "the deal," he said it was structured "to meet all legal requirements" and was a fairly common business practice. he said the company was not sold. "the management authority was sold." he said the esop requirements would "still be honored" when the situation warrants. he was asked about looking for non-media clients and said "we certainly have the expertise" for such a question, that he "would take a look" at the usia contract and, later, that priorities include keeping the clients we've got first, then winning back one's we've lost, and then looking for new business. aske about credibility problems, the mexican ownership and brian's ties to the reagan administration, the two responded: "steinle: "I think the mexican ownership kept this company going for two years." "there's been a lot of talk about this company being back in american hands," a staffer said. "well, that's a hot subject for me," brian replied. "I sat here yesterday and saw an organizational chart in spanish and I don't speak spanish, and it occurred to me that since 80 percent of the people in this organization don't speak spanish there's got to be some question about the communication from the top downward. so I view it as a problem." "what about the credibility problem?" and investigations involving brian. is that going to be a problem? "well I hope not because all of the investigations that were raised I was fully cleared of any aspect of them whatsoever. and here I stand today. basically I haven't been involved in the reagan administration for 10 years. although I certainly have some friends who are involved there. but I'm certainly not here for political reasons and certainly don't have any intention of any shape, manner or form of interfering with the editorial process of this businessas we have not done in any of the other organizations. "no, I hoe it won't raise any credibility problems. maybe and perhaps it will make some people feel like we're back here to do business in american hands again and so be it." steinle: "dr. brian brings tremendous expertise in terems of financing, in terms of turnaround, in terms of persistence, in terms of support. he certainly did that for financial news network and I'm sure he'll do it for united press international. on the day-to-day operation, he will not run the new, I will not run the news -- you will run the news." asked about reports of canibalizing, steinle said "that wasn't our interest then. it isn't our interest now.' but he said "we're going to look at everything very precisely" and noted that upi alrady is sold "as parts" and that all options are opoen. "we need to find out where we're earning money." "we don't have a preconception of making it a business wire." they said they expected to have a business plan in "four to six weeks." and it won "be a five-year plan." "we are planners and we do execute against plan," brian said. upi 02-22-88 12:28 PCs