New York Times CEO Robinson Stepping Down

Published December 15, 2011

| Reuters

New York Times Co Chief Executive Janet Robinson will step down at the end of this year and will be succeeded by current publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the company said on Thursday.

The media company, best known for its flagship paper, said Sulzberger would serve on an interim basis and it would soon start a search for a permanent replacement to Robinson, 61, who has worked at the company for nearly three decades.

She became president and chief executive officer in late 2004, overseeing The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune, among other media properties. Her priority was to steer the august New York Times through one of the harshest business environments it has ever faced, a task that analysts say showed mixed results.

The stock of the company is down nearly 25 percent this year.

"Obviously, the last few years have been tough as, together, we have navigated one of the most difficult periods in publishing history," she said in a memo to staff on Thursday. "It is probably an understatement to say that transitioning from a traditional print journalism model to the digital world has been an enormous challenge."

The problems plaguing newspaper companies are well known. Readers have ditched print for digital, causing circulation and advertising revenue to plummet. Newspaper company Lee Enterprises last week succumbed to secular changes and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Robinson underscored the struggle her company faces during a presentation at the recent UBS investor conference in New York, estimating that fourth quarter advertising revenue is expected to "improve slightly" from the previous quarter's 9 percent decline, putting a positive spin on yet another quarter of decreasing ad dollars.

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