One of the world's highest profile broadcasting executives,
outgoing BBC director-general Mark Thompson has been hired by the New York
Times Company as its next president and CEO.
Thompson, who steered the BBC through a trying period of
cost cutting and staff layoffs as well as an expansion of its digital efforts
over the last eight years, is expected to join the New York Times in November.
The fifty-five year-old executive had previously announced
that he would be leaving the BBC at the end of the Olympics.
He will also become a member of the company's board of directors.
"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 Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of the
Times Company in a statement. "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 in time when we are highly focused on growing our
business through digital and global expansion."
"The New York Times is one of the world's greatest news
providers and a media brand of immense future potential both in the U.S. and
around the world," Thompson added in a statement. "It is a real privilege to be
asked to join the Times Company as it embarks on the next chapter in its history.
I'm particularly excited to be coming to The New York Times Company as it
extends its influence digitally and globally. I look forward to working with
the board, Arthur and his highly talented management team to build on the success
that has already been achieved and to explore new ways of bringing journalism
of exceptional quality, integrity and depth to readers and users everywhere."
At the BBC, Thompson was widely credited with strengthening the
broadcaster with innovative new products and by developing new revenues from multiple
platforms and by expanding its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. During the London
Olympics, the BBC delivered a record amount of digital coverage.
But stagnant revenue from the fees used to finance the BBC
also forced him to push the organization through a painful period of cutbacks
that saw the public broadcaster announce a five year plan to cut more than 2,000
jobs, skills that may also be important in his new post as the New York Times struggles
to adapt to declining newspaper ad revenue.