Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The New York Times announced Wednesday that veteran publishing executive Meredith Kopit Levien, the paper's current COO, will become its next president and CEO, succeeding Mark Thompson, on September 8.

Why it matters: Levien, 49, is credited with turning the Times' business around from being mostly dependent on advertising to now getting most of its money from subscriptions. She's also restructured the business team in recent years to put an increased emphasis on product, data and technology.

  • She will join the Times' board and Thompson will step down as an officer and director of the Times Company. A.G. Sulzberger, the Times' publisher, and Brian McAndrews, the board’s presiding director, led the board’s succession planning committee.
  • In a statement, Sulzberger said that the Times' board "unanimously agreed that Meredith was the perfect leader to drive the next phase of growth and transformation at the Times."
  • "She’s been Mark Thompson’s closest partner over the past seven years and will continue to build on his remarkable legacy," he added.

What she's saying: "It's the honor of a lifetime to lead the New York Times," Levien said in a statement.

  • "I see a big opportunity to expand journalism’s role in the lives of millions more people around the world, and to invest in product and technology innovation that engages our readers and grows our business."
  • Thompson said he's chose this moment to step down "because we have achieved everything I set out to do when I joined the Times Company eight years ago — and because I know that in Meredith, I have an outstanding successor who is ready to lead the company on to its next chapter."

The backdrop: Levien joined the Times in August 2013 as head of advertising after several years at Forbes, where she served as chief revenue officer.

  • She was named executive vice president and chief revenue officer in April 2015, bringing the Times' subscriptions business under her purview.
  • She became COO in June 2017, managing the company's digital product efforts.

The big picture: Levien's impact on the Times to date cannot be overstated, modernizing its advertising business to rely more heavily on creative digital solutions than traditional print ads.

  • She completely transformed the company's business structure to more closely integrate product and data across the business.
  • Beginning at the end of 2018, the company's business structure was broken out into teams that manage "missions" — essentially product objectives and "functions," like product advertising and marketing.
  • She is seen as a champion of women within the company and the industry.

The bottom line: Levien is a celebrated executive inside and outside of the Times.
Everyone in the media industry knew this promotion was coming.

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