Rosenthal will leave the role in late April and will begin writing online columns, and covering a range of subjects, including the presidential election. Bennet will join The Times on May 2.
“Since [publisher] Arthur [Sulzberger Jr.] began the public discussions last fall about succession planning for himself, I also have been thinking about my own plans,” Rosenthal said. “I feel very honored to have served in this position for longer than any editorial page editor in the modern history of The Times and during a period of such sweeping change, both in our business and in the world we cover. It’s been a great challenge and great fun. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to step back and focus my full attention on writing about subjects I care deeply about.”
Sulzberger offered: “Andy has done more than just preside over the continued excellence of our opinion pages, he has reinvented them for the digital age. Beyond his exceptional journalistic skills and his ability to provide clear and cogent analysis of the events shaping the world around us, he has been a forceful agent for change inside The Times. Over the past decade, our opinion section led the way in our digital transformation, piloting everything from video, with the stellar and award-winning Op-Docs, to interactive journalism to true global expansion with the addition of dozens of new international opinion writers, amplifying our voice and our reach to regions around the world. Under Andy’s leadership, our editorial page has been a persistent and impactful advocate for important policy positions from U.S. relations with Cuba, to transgender issues, to marriage equality, to race and criminal justice, privacy and guns.”
The publisher added that Rosenthal has played a key role in the company’s “biggest recent decisions — from the launch of the digital pay model in 2011 to the recent crafting of our strategy document, ‘Our Path Forward.'”
Bennet’s return to The Times comes after a 10-year run at The Atlantic where he served as co-president for the past two years. At The Times, Bennet held various jobs from 1991 until 2006, including White House correspondent, Magazine staff writer and Jerusalem bureau chief.
“I am delighted that James has agreed to return to The Times where he did so much exceptional work over 15 years. When we lost him to The Atlantic ten years ago, those of us who worked with him knew that he would usher in the resurgence of that great publication,” Sulzberger said. “He’s done that and more. We also knew, or at least hoped, that someday he would return. James is an extraordinary talent, known as much for his journalistic curiosity and judgment as he is for his originality and spirit of innovation.”
Bennet added: “It’s a tremendous honor to have the chance to succeed Andy Rosenthal, an editor I’ve known and looked up to since I covered politics for him at The Times 20 years ago. I’m looking forward to joining my new colleagues to continue his work imagining all the new possibilities for intelligent commentary in these times.”