BBC saga won't affect NYT job - Thompson
A host of challenges confront Mark Thompson as he officially takes over as chief executive of New York Times from making the company less dependent on advertising to trimming costs to figuring out what to do with its pile of cash.
Sizable as the tasks are, Thompson, who reported for work as the Times CEO for the first time today, is also dealing with questions resulting from a series of scandals that have rocked his former employer, the BBC.
George Entwistle, Thompson's successor as the BBC's director-general, resigned on Saturday and two of the broadcaster's top news directors stepped aside today.
Thompson served as director-general of the BBC from 2004 until September this year.
Britain's broadcasting company has come under fire for its handling of two investigations at its flagship news show, "Newsnight." One, a massive sexual abuse scandal involving the late Jimmy Savile, a former presenter at the network, that never aired.
The other was a news story of an allegation that a former top politician sexually abused children, which was later proven to be false.
The latter report occurred after Thompson left the BBC. However, the unaired program about Savile that was shelved, occurred while Thompson was director-general of the broadcasting company.
In a staff memo obtained by Reuters, New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger welcomed Thompson but sidestepped addressing the scandals at the BBC.
"We welcome him at a time of tremendous change and challenge, which must be met with equal focus and innovation," Mr Sulzberger said in the memo distributed today.
"Mark will lead us as we continue our digital transformation, bolster our international growth, drive our productivity and introduce new technologies that will help us become better storytellers and enrich the experience for our readers and viewers."
British and US news media filmed Mr Thompson as he arrived at the New York Times headquarters today near Manhattan's Times Square. "I'm looking forward to starting work there right now," said Mr Thompson, who was dressed in a navy blue suit, red tie and had a backpack slung over his right shoulder.
When asked if the BBC saga would be a distraction he said: "I believe it will not in any way affect my job, which I'm starting right now as chief executive of the New York Times Company."
Mr Thompson begins as Times CEO just weeks after the company reported bruising third-quarter results that missed revenue and profit expectations and sent shares tumbling 22 per cent.
His arrival today marks the first time the company has had a CEO since the abrupt ouster of Janet Robinson last December.
Thompson declined to comment about his plans for the company.