Boston Globe publisher retires after paper nearly dies
Fifty-six. Is it the new 65? Ask Steven Ainsley, the 56-year-old publisher of The Boston Globe. He is retiring, parent company New York Times Co said on Thursday, after three years as publisher. His successor is Christopher Mayer, 47, who joined the globe in 1984.
In the press release, the Times Co noted the two Pulitzer Prizes that the Globe won under Ainsley’s reign. It didn’t mention that other thing that happened this year, which was the Times threatening to close the paper unless unions buckled and agreed to millions of dollars in concessions to stem outrageous operating losses that could have hit $85 million this year. It also didn’t mention the layoffs, the closing of the Globe’s international bureaus and the attempts to sell the Globe for next to nothing after buying it in 1993 for $1.1 billion.
But those are details.
The Globe’s story says that Ainsley is considering nonprofit work after the Times. All we can add is: Isn’t that what you’ve been doing at the Globe?
Here are a few excerpts, meanwhile, from the Globe story:
Ainsley said he was glad to have seen the Globe through to a stronger financial position. “It’s been difficult but enormously gratifying,” he said. “Clearly we’ve had a lot of work to do here this year. I think we’ve made extraordinary progress in getting the Globe on sound financial footing.” Mayer, a native of upstate New York and a graduate of Yale University, said he is enthusiastic about the Globe’s prospects. “It’s a big challenge but it’s also a great opportunity and a great institution,” Mayer said.
Asked whether he anticipates making changes at the paper, he said the Globe has “very talented people,” and that he and his team will be working on strategies to take the Globe into the evolving digital era.
“There’s a lot of passion for what we do,” Mayer said. “The journalism is important, and we need a business model that enables us to continue to do that.”
By the way, it looks like Ainsley is eligible to receive a $1,215,927 departure package of sorts. That is the total of various restricted stock units, deferred compensation and retirement benefits listed in the Times Co’s most recent proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. I asked a Globe spokesman whether Ainsley will take that money, or whether he’ll leave any of that on the table in the spirit of the Times asking Globe employees to allow their benefits and pay to be cut. Can’t hurt to ask, right? I’ll update again when he replies.