Times Co. CEO credits Globe workers for turnaround
Speaking at The Boston Globe today, Janet Robinson, chief executive of The New York Times Co., thanked employees for helping to improve the newspaper's finances, making it possible for the company to call off a sale of New England's largest paper.
But Robinson acknowledged that the Globe has more work to do in boosting its revenue and she declined to rule out further staffing cuts.
In introducing Robinson, Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley drew applause from several hundred employees when he reaffirmed the Times Co.'s decision to keep the paper, calling it "precisely the outcome I hoped we'd end up at."
Final bids were due last Friday and employees learned late yesterday that the Globe was off the market.
Robinson said the Globe's value was underscored by an outpouring of support from readers, businesses and community groups.
"You had the overwhelming support of your readers, your users, your neighbors, your business community, your educational institutions, and your elected officials," she said. "And I hope you all realize how the community embraced all of you during this period of time. It said something about the power of the Globe. Collectively they reinforced what you already knew: New England needs and cares about the Boston Globe and very much wanted it to succeed in its battle against a very challenging financial environment."
Robinson acknowledged that "the sales process has been very unnerving for all," and lauded Globe employees for continuing to produce outstanding journalism throughout a difficult year.
She said Times Co. officials believed all along that restructuring of the paper, rather than a sale, was an option.
"We had this decision-making latitude because the Globe and Boston.com have been diligently and courageously transforming their business and their journalistic operations, and this transformation has made sure that the newspaper and the website are on stronger financial footing, " she said.
Earlier this year, the Times Co. threatened to close the Globe, saying it was on track to lose $85 million in 2009. Since then, the paper has erased the bulk of the deficit through deep wage and benefit cuts, the closing of a production plant in Billerica, and by raising the price of the newspaper.
During a question and answer session following her remarks, several employees asked if some of the cuts in benefits and wages would be rescinded.
Robinson acknowledged the paper had "made significant progress" but "our financial situation is better but we are not what I would call where we need to be. We are not out of the woods."
Ainsley reinforced those comments, saying a reversal of wage and benefit cuts is "under consideration." But unless there is further improvement in the Globe's financial situation, "There is a reasonable likelihood we will not reinstate."
When asked if there would be more job reductions, Ainsley said management will "take a hard look at staffing" reductions and other ways to further reduce costs.