Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. will retire as chairman and a member of The New York Times Co. board at the end of the year, the publishing company said Wednesday. The 69-year-old will be succeeded by his son and The Times’ publisher since 2018, A.G. Sulzberger.
Sulzberger Jr. will assume the title chairman emeritus. He led The Times as publisher between 1992 and 2017 and became chairman in 1997, when the paper had a circulation of just 1 million, largely in the New York metropolitan area.
He said, “I know A.G. will not rest in his drive to empower our journalists and expand the scope of The Times’ ambitions. And with a dynamic new ceo and the best executive editor in the business, I depart knowing the best is yet to come.”
The younger Sulzberger began his career at The Times as a metro reporter, before moving to a national correspondent role and then associate editor for newsroom strategy and deputy publisher.
Of his father, he said, “Our success today is directly attributable to his singular focus on the long term, his embrace of innovation and his sustained investment in quality, original journalism. I am excited to build on Arthur’s remarkable legacy.”
The chairman switch comes just over two weeks after Meredith Kopit Levien succeeded Mark Thompson as chief executive officer of the company.
When asked at the virtual Goldman Sachs annual Communacopia conference last week what investors should think about what The Times is building, she responded that they should think of it as “a fast growing, scaling direct-to-consumer digital subscription business with a very big addressable audience and a big opportunity to gain a lot more share of that audience.”
Much of her focus now is boosting subscriptions. So far, it’s having success. Paid digital-only subscriptions totaled about 5.7 million in the second quarter, representing a record net increase of 669,000 compared with the end of the first quarter and a rise of 1.89 million from a year earlier. It now has about 6.5 million subscriptions across its print and digital products.