Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the 37-year-old son of New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., will take over his father’s position on January 1, the paper announced this morning. The younger Sulzberger, known as A.G., has been deputy publisher for a year and is credited with pushing the Times deeper into the digital era that has seen a boost in online subscriptions, ancillary products and services.
The New York Times Company directors approved the move at a meeting on Thursday, according to the paper. A.O. Sulzberger, 66, will stay on as chairman of company. He was named publisher in 1992 and presided over arguably the most tumultuous period in the storied institution’s history since Adolph S. Ochs bought the Times at a bankruptcy sale in 1896.
Those years saw the erosion of advertising and readers of the physical paper with the advent of the Internet, shrinking of the newsroom staff, and several journalistic scandals that shook the Paper of Record to its core. They ranged from its discredited coverage of the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush to the discovery that a reporter, Jayson Blair, had fabricated sources and plagiarized hundreds of major stories over a long period of time, which the paper in its own account called “a profound betrayal of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” The Blair revelations led to the resignation of the paper’s two top editors, Howell Raines and Gerald M. Boyd.
The period also saw the naming of Jill Abramson as the paper’s first female executive editor, the top position, only to be followed by her abrupt firing and replacement by the current executive editor, Dean Baquet, the paper’s first African-American executive editor. (Note: I was a reporter for the Times from 1986 through 1991.)
“This isn’t a goodbye,” A.O. Sulzberger said in a note to Times employees on Thursday. “But, beginning in the new year, the grand ship that is The Times will be A.G.’s to steer.”
Best known for heading the team that produced The Times’s “innovation report” in 2014, A. G. Sulzberger will be the sixth member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family to serve in that role.
“I am an unapologetic champion for this institution and its journalistic mission,” A. G. Sulzberger said. “And I’ll continue to be that as publisher.”
The Times currently has 2.5 million digital subscriptions and counts itself as “one of the few newspaper companies with a growing newsroom during a time when the industry as a whole is struggling.” Its breakneck competition with the similarly resurgent Washington Post in their coverage of the presidency of Donald J. Trump has reinvigorated both papers.