Zimbalist to Leave OPA for NYT Co.

NEW YORK Michael Zimbalist, president of the Online Publishers Association, is departing the group to join The New York Times Company.

Zimbalist will join as a vice president and head a newly formed research and development group, charged with jump-starting innovation and new products, including wireless projects, across the media company. He will also lead the development of Boston.com.

“This is a job focused on innovation and creating a constant innovation,” Zimbalist said. He will report to Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations.

Pam Horan will replace Zimbalist on an interim basis at the OPA when he assumes his new post on Jan. 23. The group is conducting a search for a new president, Zimbalist said.

Zimbalist, 49, was with the OPA for four years, first as acting executive director and then president.

The formation of an R&D unit within The New York Times Co. is a sign of how media has become technology driven, as traditional news organizations have fallen behind the fast advertising growth at Google and Yahoo.

In prepared remarks for an investor conference, Janet Robinson, CEO and president of The New York Times Co., called the R&D unit “an internal group that will concentrate on developing the potential of new media platforms, such as mobile technology, search and video, to expand the future distribution of our information products.”