CAP'N CRUNCH AT THE HELM

SELF-APPOINTED PUBLISHER MARK WILLES IS INTENT ON MAKING THE L.A. TIMES BOTH LEANER AND BIGGER

As a cost-cutting executive at general Mills, Mark Willes helped put the maker of Wheaties, Trix and Lucky Charms on a strict diet and fatten the company's bottom line. These days, as chief of the Times Mirror Co., Willes is crunching more than Cheerios--he has set out to prove that newspapers can be packaged and marketed as effectively as snack food. And he has chosen the goliath Los Angeles Times, the chain's flagship, as his latest demonstration project. In the process, the former champion of breakfasts is demolishing the old order at America's fourth largest paper. Last month he swept out...

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