Amid growing scrutiny of his tabloid empire, American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker has resigned from the board of Canadian media giant Postmedia “effective immediately,” according to a press release.
Peter Sharpe, the lead director of the Postmedia board, said in the release that Pecker believed it was “important for him to focus his efforts on ensuring that his businesses are best positioned for continued growth” at this time.
The news comes less than a week after reports emerged that Pecker, who leads the company that publishes the National Enquirer, had been granted immunity in the Michael Cohen case in exchange for information related to payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors claimed in court documents last week that Pecker, who considers himself President Donald Trump’s close friend, and Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, concocted a plan to “suppress” stories that might have otherwise been damaging to Trump soon after he announced he would run for president in 2015.
Since then, the heavily indebted American Media Inc. has faced a flood of stories about its various attempts to aid Trump’s candidacy, including helping to coordinate the payments to McDougal and Daniels in exchange for their silence.
Last week, The Associated Press reported that the Enquirer even “kept a safe containing documents on hush money payments and other damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump.”
Pecker first joined the board of Postmedia, which encompasses Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Postmedia Network Inc., in October 2016. At the time, the company’s CEO, Paul Godfrey, said Pecker would play no role in the day-to-day operation of the company but would only provide insight into “the things that are taking place in the United States, in many markets.”
Pecker, at the time, noted that a New Jersey-based hedge fund, which was “a common investor” in AMI and Postmedia, asked Pecker to join the board.
When asked via email if the decision to step down was made solely by Pecker, a spokesperson for Postmedia said the company did not have “any further comment than what was in the press release.”
A spokesperson for AMI did not immediately respond to requests for comment by phone and email.
This story has been updated with more details about Pecker’s relationship with Postmedia.