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New York Times Co. names BBC chief as its next CEO

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New York—The New York Times Co. has named Mark Thompson, outgoing director general of the British Broadcasting Corp., as its next president-CEO. Thompson is expected to take charge in November, succeeding Janet Robinson, who resigned from the Times Co. last December. “Our board concluded that Mark's experience and his accomplishments at the BBC made him the ideal candidate to lead the Times Co. at this moment in time when we are highly focused on growing our business through digital and global expansion,” said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of the Times Co., in a statement. As director general of the BBC for the past eight years, Thompson supervised BBC Worldwide, the commercial unit of the BBC, which has annual revenue of about $1.5 billion. He has also overseen the BBC's services across television, radio and online venues. He most recently led the BBC's coverage of the London Summer Olympics. Thompson's appointment as president-CEO comes amid aggressive efforts by the Times Co. to monetize its online content. For example, earlier this year the company reduced the number of free articles per month available on NYTimes.com from 20 to 10. The Times Co.'s ad revenue fell 6.8% to $244 million in the second quarter compared with the year-earlier period, while total revenue declined 0.6%. Digital revenue fell 4%, primarily due to lower revenue at the About Group, which includes About.com. A deal is reportedly in place to sell About.com to Answers.com for $270 million.
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