5th Generation of Sulzberger Family to Take the Reins at the New York Times

Arthur Sultzberger Jr, 2002
MARK LENNIHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Perhaps the most famous dynasty in American media will make its succession to the fifth generation this January after New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. announced his retirement from the latter role Thursday.

His son, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, will take on the role of publisher on the first of the year, but the father will remain chairman.

At 37-years-old, “A.G.” Sulzberger is almost exactly the same age his great-great-grandfather, Adolf Ochs, was when he took over the then-failing and undistinguished New York daily paper in 1896 for a mere $75,000. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Ochs transformed the “Grey Lady” into the American “paper of record,” and an innovator in print journalism.

The top spot at the New York Times has passed in Ochs’s direct family line ever since. On his death, Ochs passed the Times to his son-in-law Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The paper then passed from father to son three times over the next 82 years (with a very brief interlude in the early 1960s when another family member took the helm), each new publisher also named Arthur Sulzberger.

The next New York Times boss is a graduate of Brown University and has worked at the Times since 2009. According to the Times’ own write-up of the coming transition, A.G. Sulzberger was selected over two of his cousins for the spot. “While acknowledging that he does not seek the spotlight, A.G. Sulzberger says that he has strong views and is willing to push the company,” that piece explains.

“I wasn’t someone who grew up aspiring to become publisher of The New York Times,” Mr. Sulzberger told the paper he will soon command. “But having spent the last eight years of my life here and understanding how important the work being done here every day is, I can’t imagine a more fulfilling or rewarding way to spend my days.”

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