(Bloomberg) -- New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. will retire at the end of this year after a quarter-century of overseeing the newspaper’s efforts to generate Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism while adapting to a digital age where many online readers want information for free.
Since succeeding his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sulzberger Jr. expanded the Times into a national news outlet, introduced a website and later, an online pay model that has thrived this year, helping offset the decline of print advertising. The Times now has 3.5 million paying customers, including 2.5 million digital subscribers.
The Times also won 60 Pulitzers under Sulzberger Jr. and has received widespread praise this year for its reporting on sexual harassment allegations involving former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. On his watch the paper also was embarrassed by Jayson Blair, a Times reporter who fabricated stories, and Judith Miller, whose reporting on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was later called into question.
Sulzberger Jr., 66, will continue to serve as chairman of the Times’ board.
His 37-year-old son, A.G. Sulzberger, will become publisher Jan. 1. A former reporter at the Providence Journal and the Oregonian, he was the main author of the Times’ “Innovation Report,” a 2014 document that served as a blueprint for the company’s digital transformation.
His promotion had been expected since last year, when he was named deputy publisher. Sulzberger reportedly beat out two other candidates: David Perpich and Sam Dolnick. All three are cousins and work at the Times.
New York Times Co. is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family through an eight-member family trust. Its ownership has a dual-stock system meant to preserve the paper’s editorial independence and help insulate the company from the pressures of Wall Street.
The shares were little changed at $18.18 at 12:42 p.m. in New York.
The Times has outlined an ambitious plan to double its digital revenue to $800 million by 2020 by increasing the number of paid online readers and attracting more young and international subscribers.
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