October 19, 2016

The New York Times on Wednesday named Arthur Gregg Sulzberger to the position of deputy publisher, setting him up to succeed his father at the head of the family business when he retires.

Sulzberger, the son of New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., will begin as deputy publisher in November and work “in all facets” of The New York Times company, according to a memo sent to New York Times staffers Wednesday:

We are pleased to announce that A.G. Sulzberger has been named deputy publisher of The New York Times, effective November 1, 2016. A.G. will report to Arthur and work closely with him and other company leaders, including president and CEO Mark Thompson, executive editor Dean Baquet and editorial page editor James Bennet, on all facets of the business and news operations of The New York Times Company.

If he takes over for his father, Arthur Sulzberger will be the fifth generation of the family to serve as publisher. He is well-regarded in the newsroom and the author of the Times’ much-discussed innovation report, a document that helped kick-start the newspaper’s push for digital innovation.

The fate of the deputy publisher’s job was the subject of much palace intrigue in the months leading up to today’s announcement. Multiple members of the Sulzberger family work for The New York Times in a variety of editorial and business positions, so there was a small field of possible candidates. New York examined the competition in an article last year, naming Arthur Sulzberger, Sam Dolnick and David Perpich as among the likely contenders.

Dolnick, an associate editor at The New York Times, has been particularly involved in The Times’ digital media ventures, including virtual reality. Perpich, a Harvard M.B.A., launched the paper’s digital subscription business.

Meanwhile, The Times is in the middle of a reinvention. According to a New York Times writeup of Arthur Sulzberger’s appointment, the newsroom is about to release its 2020 Report, “a blueprint for reconfiguring the company for a digital and mobile future.”

(Disclaimer: Arthur Sulzberger sits on Poynter’s National Advisory Board)

Here’s the memo:

This appointment marks the beginning of succession planning for the role of publisher, a position that since 1896 has been held by a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family. The publisher of The New York Times has served as the main steward of the editorial independence and excellence of Times journalism. This arrangement has made The Times a singular institution in American journalism and we believe family leadership will best enable us to continue to thrive in the digital era.

A.G. is a member of the fifth generation of the family and the son of the current publisher. He is one of a number of talented family members in key leadership roles and his promotion marks a generational shift at the company. That group includes Sam Dolnick and David Perpich, two leaders who have been responsible for some of the most transformative initiatives of the company and who will both continue to be crucial agents of change.

This appointment comes at the conclusion of a months-long process led by a selection committee whose members included Michael Golden, Dean Baquet, Mark Thompson, two independent members of the Board of Directors, Robert E. Denham and Ellen R. Marram, and two trustees of the Family Trust, Trudy Golden and Carolyn D. Greenspon.

A.G. joined The Times in 2009 as a reporter and editor on the metro desk. He spent two years as a national correspondent, serving as Kansas City bureau chief.

In 2014, he was the leader of the task force that reported and wrote the Innovation Report, a transformative document that has been used as a blueprint for change in countless newsrooms. He has been a driving force in implementing the recommendations of the report and in finding ways for the newsroom to better collaborate more broadly with groups across the company.

Since July 2015, he has led the newsroom strategy team as associate editor, developing a roadmap with the masthead for The Times’s continued digital transformation. He was a key contributor to the executive committee’s Our Path Forward strategy document.

A.G. joined The Times after serving as a reporter at The Providence Journal and The Oregonian. He graduated from Brown University in 2003.

We’re living through a period of incredible change in the news business, which comes with both challenge and opportunity. Capitalizing on that opportunity, setting the tone for the organization and providing leadership that encourages change along with the full commitment to the journalistic values that makes The Times special is critical. A.G. has a proven reputation as a journalist, a leader and digital strategist and is the right person for this job at this time.

– The Board of Directors and the Trustees of the Family Trust

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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