The New York Times Co. (NYT: Quote) Tuesday named outgoing BBC Director-General Mark Thompson as its next president and CEO, ending a long search for a successor following Janet Robinson's ouster last December.
Thompson is expected to join the group in November, and will report to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of the Times. Thompson will also be inducted to the company's Board.
The appointment comes at a crucial time for the Times as it focuses on propping up its business through digital and global expansion, something which Thompson is said to have done with aplomb at the BBC.
"Mark is a gifted executive with strong credentials whose leadership at the BBC helped it to extend its trusted brand identity into new digital products and services," said Chairman Sulzberger.
"Our board concluded that Mark's experience and his accomplishments at the BBC made him the ideal candidate to lead the Times Company at this moment...," Sulzberger added.
At the BBC, Thompson is credited with bringing out new products and creating revenue streams across multiple platforms. Businesses he supervised included BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and more recently, he led the BBC's multimedia coverage of the London Olympic Games.
Thompson joined the BBC in 1979 as a production trainee and went on to become Controller (programming and scheduling chief) for its television network. He left the BBC in 2002 for a stint as CEO of Channel 4, but returned as Director-General two years later.
During his tenure, Thompson led the launch of services such as the BBC iPlayer to meet the challenges of the digital age. He also oversaw the joint launch with ITV of Freesat, as well as the BBC's involvement in YouView - a joint venture that offers subscription-free digital TV and the UK's leading video on-demand services.
Thompson's appointment comes at a phase when the Times is grappling with lower advertising revenues amid a market under the sway of shifting readership base.
In its second quarter, the Times reported a net loss of $88 million, compared to a loss of $119 million last year. Total revenues edged up 0.6 percent to $515.2 million, on growth in circulation and other revenues, while advertising fell 6.8 percent.
To focus on its newspaper business, the company has been selling other assets. In January, it sold its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings for $143 million. Earlier this month, the company acknowledged exploring the sale of About group, which includes the online resources guide About.com.
NYT closed Tuesday at $9.09, up 0.33%, on a volume of over 1.0 million shares on the NYSE. In after hours, the stock gained 0.13%.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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