Eight months after helping to launch an online pay meter for The New York Times that many consider a success, New York Times Co. senior VP of digital operations Martin Nisenholtz is retiring at year's end.
Mr. Nisenholtz joined The Times in 1995, helping create the newspaper's website.
"He leaves a lasting legacy that will be felt for a very long time," Publisher Arthur Sulzberger and Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson said in a joint email to employees. "He developed a strong roster of executives and a deep bench of managers who are recognized leaders in our industry. Together, they will continue to execute on our digital strategy with teams comprised of the best and brightest experts on the Web, social media, design, digital devices, engineers and research and development."
Times spokesman Bob Christie said in an email that the paper probably wouldn't announce whether or not there will be a successor until after Thanksgiving.
The timing of the announcement was surprising to some, considering that the paywall strategy is still in its infancy and that Mr. Nisenholtz added direct oversight of About.com to his duties earlier this year.
"I'm very surprised," said Douglas Arthur, an analyst at Evercore Partners. "I'm almost shocked. The digital thrust of the company is the positive part of the story they have going on and he just took About.com under his wing. The timing is very surprising to me."
Mr. Arthur said that while Mr. Nisenholtz oversaw all digital strategy, others inside the Times played pivotal roles in the conception and execution of the new paywall, including Ms. Robinson.
The New York Times had 324,000 paid digital subscribers at the end of September.