Meredith Kopit Levien has been named The New York Times’ next president and chief executive officer, taking over from Mark Thompson, who will retire on Sept. 8.
Levien has been the company’s executive vice president since 2013 and its chief operating officer since 2017. Previously, she was the chief revenue officer and executive vice president of advertising. Prior to joining the company, she served as chief revenue officer of Forbes Media and began her career at the Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C.
According to The Times, at age 49 she will be the youngest person to take on the role.
Levien said, “It’s the honor of a lifetime to lead The New York Times. I see a big opportunity to expand journalism’s role in the lives of millions more people around the world, and to invest in product and technology innovation that engages our readers and grows our business.”
Thompson, who will turn 63 on July 31, explained that he chose this moment to step down because he has achieved everything he set out to do when he joined The Times eight years ago.
“There’s nothing that makes me more proud than the fact that our newsroom is substantially larger today than when I joined. The world needs Times journalism now more than ever,” he said.
Publisher and board member A.G. Sulzberger and Brian McAndrews, the board’s presiding director, led the board’s succession planning committee.
Sulzberger said of Levien: “She has successfully led much of our company’s most important work — from reimagining our advertising business to driving our historic subscription growth to fostering a culture of product innovation.”
Levien’s appointment comes not long after The Times laid off 68 staffers, mainly in advertising. At the time, Thompson and Levien explained that while the transformation from a legacy newspaper to a multimedia digital news provider has boosted staff numbers in both the newsroom and the business side over the past few years, “the decline of some traditional revenue streams and the changes in direction that inevitably come with digital experimentation have also meant some job losses.”
Thompson indicated in May during a call with analysts that there would likely be some job cuts as advertising was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic despite a spike in subscriptions.
He revealed The Times added 587,000 net new digital subscriptions in the three months ended March 29, compared with the previous quarter. This was the biggest quarterly jump on record, but it was not matched by an increase in advertising, which is tumbling across the whole media industry. Digital advertising revenue decreased 7.9 percent to $51.2 million, while print advertising revenue was down 20.9 percent. It is not set to make a comeback in the second quarter ending June 30, either, with Thompson expecting it to drop between 50 and 55 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier.
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