The family behind American media group the New York Times Company looks to be reigning in control of the family business, in the wake of declining revenues and profits for fiscal 2011.
The family-controlled company, which is behind the namesake iconic newspaper, saw full-year revenues decline by 2.8% to $2.38 billion (€1.80 billion). Operating profits also took a big hit, falling by around 75% to $56.7 million, the company said in a statement on 2 February.
The announcement comes just weeks after the business appointed family member Arthur Sulzberger Jr as the interim chief executive, following the sudden exit of non-family Janet Robinson.
Sulzberger, who is also chairman of the group, said in a call to investors that the search for the chief executive was “in its early stages as [the] board seeks to find the appropriate executive with digital and brand-building experience to help guide [the] company and its long-term growth strategy”.
However, it is likely that a member of the founding Ochs-Sulzberger family could play a larger role in the company management.
Sulzberger added that Michael Golden, a family member, had taken on more responsibilities in overseeing company growth. Golden, who was previously in charge of the Boston Globe newspaper, is now managing all of the company’s New England media assets.
Speculation is also rife that he could handle more of the day-to-day running of the flagship business – he is currently vice-chairman of the New York Times Company.
The move comes as the family attempts to improve performance at the media group – Robinson’s exit in December 2011 followed a period of non-payment of dividends and declining share performance. During her seven-year tenure, she also approached Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim for emergency financing, which led to Slim eventually holding an 8.1% stake in the company.
Traded on the New York stock exchange, the business is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family through a trust, which gives the family members the right to elect 70% of the company board.
The business traces its roots back to 1896 when Adolph Ochs bought money-losing newspaper the New York Times. Today, the multi-billion-dollar company publishes around 15 dailies and operates more than 50 websites.