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August 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Mark Thompson

In an apparent effort to expand its global reach, the New York Times has hired former BBC Director General Mark Thompson to become its new president and CEO. Thompson has demonstrated his ability to turn the BBC into an international powerhouse, aware that an estimated one billion people worldwide can now understand English. However, he has virtually no background whatsoever in newspaper publishing. In a statement, Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said that the company’s board concluded that Thompson’s “accomplishments at the BBC made him the ideal candidate to lead the Times Company at this moment in time when we are highly focused on growing our business through digital and global expansion.” The company has been without a CEO since Janet Robinson abruptly resigned last December, and Thompson himself is not expected to assume his post until November. His background in TV immediately triggered speculation that the Times will likely make a move into online video. But Benchmark Co. analyst Edward Atorino seemed skeptical of the Times‘s new hire. With the Times “barely making money,” Atorino told Advertising Age, how is it “going to fund ‘global expansion?’ Does Arthur [Sulzberger] really think the world is waiting for NYT content?”