New York Times Co. Taps Outgoing BBC Exec as CEO

Mark Thompson led digital expansion

Nearly eight months to the day since Janet Robinson resigned as the CEO of the New York Times Co., the owner of The Gray Lady has finally found a replacement to fill its top executive position. Mark Thompson, the outgoing director general of the BBC and chairman of BBC Worldwide, will become president and CEO of the New York Times Co., the company announced today.

Thompson, 55, first joined the BBC in 1979 as a production trainee and, apart from a brief stint as CEO of Britain’s Channel 4 from 2002 to 2004, spent the entirety of his career at the U.K. broadcasting company.

In 2004, Thompson was appointed director general of the BBC, taking responsibility the company’s services across TV, radio and the Web. During his tenure, Thompson played a major role in BBC’s digital expansion—a fact emphasized by the Times Co., which has been struggling to find a way to make up for losses in print profit. Specifically, Thompson oversaw the launch of the BBC iPlayer and the company’s partnership with digital TV service YouView.

Last March, Thompson announced that he would retire from the BBC this fall after the close of the London Olympics.

Thompson’s current salary at the BBC is listed at around $962,000 (or $976,000 including other remuneration). While on par with former Times Co. CEO Robinson’s $1 million annual salary, it’s a far cry from the $4.5 million one-time “consulting” fee for 2012 that Robinson received this year as part of her eyebrow-raising $24 million exit compensation package.