NEW YORK - The New York Times backed up its push for a digital future Tuesday by naming Mark Thompson (above), the outgoing director general of the BBC, as the paper's new president and chief executive.
The Times issued a statement saying: "BBC Director-General Mark Thompson will become its next president and CEO. He will also become a member of the company's board of directors."
Thompson, 55, will start work in November.
The Times, which is America's most prestigious newspaper as well as a growing online news power, said it had recruited Thompson for his ability to develop non-traditional news products.
The so-called "Gray Lady" was once synonymous with a somewhat stodgy, if reliable broadsheet daily newspaper. However, the organisation now boasts a successful, high-tech subscription website, cutting edge blogs, and video production.
Thompson, who oversaw the British Broadcasting Corporation's multiple platforms, is expected to bolster that development.
"Mark is a gifted executive with strong credentials whose leadership at the BBC helped it to extend its trusted brand identity into new digital products and services," Arthur Sulzberger, Jr, chairman of the Times Company, said.
"Our board concluded that Mark's experience and his 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."
Thompson also spoke of the need to steer the Times down the digital path.
"The New York Times is one of the world's greatest news providers and a media brand of immense future potential both in the US and around the world," he said. "I'm particularly excited to be coming to The New York Times Company as it extends its influence digitally and globally."
Thompson said he was looking forward to exploring "new ways" of delivering news.
His reputation at the BBC, emphasised the Times, was as an innovator who helped transform the BBC, often criticised as a vast, but lumbering national institution.
"Mr Thompson reshaped the BBC to meet the challenge of the digital age, ensuring that it remained a leading innovator with the launch of services such as the BBC iPlayer," the Times said.
"He also oversaw a transformation of the BBC itself, driving productivity and efficiency through the introduction of new technologies and bold organizational redesign."
The New York Times has a huge reputation in US journalism and the kind of human resources that are almost unheard of now in the rapidly shrinking newspaper world.
However, at the BBC, Thompson managed a true behemoth, with 10 national TV channels and 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations, a high-traffic website, and the BBC World Service, which broadcasts in 27 languages.
The New York Times Company, which also includes the International Herald Tribune and Boston Globe, had 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion (S$2.85 billion).