NY Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. retiring, handing role to son

Sulzberger Jr. will be succeeded by his son, A.G. Sulzberger

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. will retire as chairman and a member of the New York Times Co. board by the end of this year, the newspaper publisher said Wednesday.

Sulzberger Jr., 69, will be succeeded by his son, A.G. Sulzberger., 40, who has been The Times' publisher since 2018.

The last years of the elder Sulzberger's tenure have been marked, in part, by relentless criticism from President Trump, who has repeatedly referred to the newspaper as "the failing New York Times."

In May, Trump issued a pair of tweets, referring to Sulzberger and Times executive editor Dean Baquet by name, with the president adding, "I laugh at them all."

Sulzberger issued a statement Wednesday about his departure plans.

“Serving this essential institution and working alongside so many gifted journalists over the years has been the privilege of my life," Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement, according to the paper. "There’s an old saying, ‘Laurels are nice to wear, but never to rest upon.’ I know A.G. will not rest in his drive to empower our journalists and expand the scope of The Times’s ambitions. And with a dynamic new C.E.O. and the best executive editor in the business, I depart knowing the best is yet to come.”

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The New York Times building is seen on June 30, 2020 in New York City. (AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Times building is seen on June 30, 2020 in New York City. (AFP via Getty Images)

Sulzberger joined the Times in 1978 as a correspondent, and -- over four decades -- helped transform the newspaper, known as “The Gray Lady”, into a digital media company. He assumed the role of publisher in 1992 after his family bought the paper more than a century earlier. Under his leadership, he led the Times to 61 Pulitzer Prizes, a record for any news organization.

Sulzberger Jr. became chairman in 1997 when the paper had a circulation of roughly 1 million, largely in the New York metropolitan area. Now, The Times has 5.7 million total digital subscriptions -- up from 800,000 back in 2014 -- and generates more revenue from digital than print for the first time in its 170-year history.

Sulzberger Jr. was also involved in some controversies during his time overseeing the paper's editorial and business functions from 1992 to 2017.

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He oversaw the 2003 scandal involving Jayson Blair, who resigned from the newspaper that May after fabrication and plagiarism were found in his stories, reports said. Former executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd resigned in the wake of the scandal.

New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. visits the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 20, 2015 in New York City. (Getty Images)

New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. visits the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 20, 2015 in New York City. (Getty Images)

Sulzberger Jr. also clashed with executive editor Jill Abramson before relieving her of her duties back in 2014. He concluded that Abramson had misled him by not informing managing editor, Dean Baquet that she planned to bring in another journalist and give her the same title of managing editor, the executive said.

Back in February, Sulzberger, Jr. was said to be divorcing his wife, Gabrielle Greene, after more than five years of marriage, the New York Post reported.

He will assume the title chairman emeritus, the company said.

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A.G. Sulzberger previously worked as a reporter at The Providence Journal and The Oregonian before joining the New York Times metro desk back in 2009, according to Reuters.

"Our success today is directly attributable to his singular focus on the long term, his embrace of innovation, and his sustained investment in quality, original journalism. I am excited to build on Arthur’s remarkable legacy," A.G. Sulzberger added.

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