Janet L. Robinson is retiring as CEO of the New York Times Co. at the end of the year, she said Thursday in an email to staff.
Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the chairman of the company and the publisher of its flagship newspaper, will serve as interim CEO. The Ochs-Sulzberger family has owned the Times for more than 100 years.
“The New York Times Company has been my home for 28 years, and I leave with mixed emotions," Robinson said in a statement. "I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many outstanding people over the years, and I am particularly proud of my role in helping to navigate through one of the most difficult periods in publishing history as we transitioned from traditional print journalism to the digital world. At the same time, the company’s course is set and I am excited by new opportunities that await me."
Robinson, 61, will continue at the company in a consulting role, and earn $4.5 million next year according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Robinson, who has held her post since 2004, ran the company during a tumultuous period marked by new financial challenges. Though the Times also owns entities such as the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and About.com, the New York Times newspaper remains the company's crown jewel.
Its revenue has declined sharply as print advertising dries up, and the company was forced to take a $250 million loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in January of 2009. It has since paid that back, earlier than expected.
Advertising revenue continues to decline, but the early success of the Times' paywall — or digital subscription plan as it called — has generated more optimism about the company's future. The early influx of digital subscribers has well exceeded the Times' goal for the year of 300,000, and the company reported $15.7 million in profits for its third quarter.
“On behalf of the board and the entire New York Times Company, I want to thank Janet for her significant contributions during her career, especially during the challenging years we most recently faced,” Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement.
The Times' own story on the move speculates that the company could look to the technology sector for a new CEO given the importance of online content to the company's future.