THOMPSON’S TIME: The New York Times Co. named Mark Thompson, the former director-general of the BBC, as chief executive officer late Tuesday.
The decision came eight months to the day since the paper revealed the resignation of former ceo Janet Robinson and embarked on an extensive and trying search for a new leader.
This story first appeared in the August 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In an internal memo to staff, Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. cited Thompson’s network as “a place of constant innovation.”
“Mark will work closely with the board and with me as we work to extend our own culture of innovation and transformation and as we continue to expand,” he wrote.
At the BBC, Thompson, who announced his departure in March, oversaw a partially public network that made the bulk of its money from the annual licensing fee imposed on all British households. The British government has frozen the fee, forcing the network to look for other sources of revenue — a strategy that was not unnoticed by the Times. The company cited Thompson’s launch of the network’s iPlayer, a lucrative video-on-demand platform, for instance.
Digital savvy was seen by the Times’ board as a crucial quality in a new ceo. Thompson will be relocating to New York from London; his wife, Jane Blumberg, is American-born. He expects to start in November.