Par Ridder resigned from the Star Tribune on Friday, nine months after taking over as publisher and three months after he was barred from the job by a Ramsey County judge.
The resignation, announced by company spokeswoman Sally Nelson, coincided with settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Star Tribune by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ridder's former employer, over his hiring.
The events bring to an end Ridder's tenure at the Star Tribune, which began after the unexpected resignation of the previous publisher. J. Keith Moyer left the Star Tribune shortly before the newspaper's sale in March to Avista Capital Partners, a New York private equity firm.
The Star Tribune hired Ridder from the St. Paul paper that his family had run for several generations. Weeks later, the Pioneer Press filed a lawsuit that accused Ridder of breaking a noncompete agreement, hiring Pioneer Press executives away from the paper in violation of other agreements and taking a laptop computer containing confidential Pioneer Press data.
After a hearing in June on a temporary injunction, Ridder was barred by court order on Sept. 18 from the Star Tribune's offices because, according to District Court Judge David Higgs, he could not be trusted to refrain from using the St. Paul data to hurt that paper.
Higgs, who was informed recently that the sides had reached a settlement, dismissed the lawsuit Friday afternoon but kept in place a one-year injunction that prevents Ridder from working for the Star Tribune.
Ridder, 39, could not be reached for comment Friday.
The Star Tribune was also ordered to pay legal fees incurred by the Pioneer Press, estimated at $5 million.
Full terms of the settlement were sealed.
The newspaper and Ridder had filed appeals of their case last week.
The order issued Friday allows advertising executive Jennifer Parratt to start work at the Star Tribune on Jan. 1. Parratt, a former executive at the Pioneer Press, had been ordered to stay away from the Star Tribune after Ridder hired her away from St. Paul. She could not be reached for comment.
"We are happy to report that this litigation has been fully resolved," said Chris Harte, publisher and chairman of the Star Tribune Co.
The settlement prevents the case from going to trial, where the Pioneer Press would have argued that Ridder hurt its business and that the Star Tribune should pay damages.
"This was not a happy time for either newspaper," said Dean Singleton, vice chairman and chief executive officer of MediaNews Group, owner of the Pioneer Press. "The court awarded us what we asked the court to award us. The folks at Avista are good people. They found themselves in an awkward position over all of this and it was time to move on. We move on with no ill will, nothing but respect for Avista, and we both need to concentrate on navigating the change that the newspaper business has found itself in."
Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329