Thursday, February 18, 2010

Family member nominated to a shrinking board; therapist said expert on family-controlled firms

The board of directors said today it has nominated Ochs-Sulzberger family member Carolyn Dryfoos Greenspon, a psychotherapist, to replace another family member on the board, Daniel Cohen, who disclosed in January that he would not stand for re-election.

Also today, the board revealed in its statement that Scott Galloway, a one-time activist director since 2008, also would not seek re-election. The board chose to not fill his seat, so the governing body will shrink to 13 members.

Galloway joined the board after leading a dissident shareholder campaign to force changes at the company; his departure appears to be victory for Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

Soothing family dramas
The Ochs-Sulzberger family has controlled the Times Co. for more than 100 years. Greenspon (left) and Chairman Sulzberger are second cousins; Cohen and Sulzberger are first cousins. (See this family tree.)

Greenspon, 41, is a social worker and therapist in private practice at Comprehensive Psychiatric Associates in the Boston suburb of Wellesley. Notably, today's board statement says, she offers expertise in a speciality of current importance to her own family: She is a consultant working with "multigenerational family businesses and families who share substantial assets."

Consultants such as Greenspon are increasingly in demand at family-controlled firms, where intergenerational squabbles can spur the breakup of dynastic businesses. That was the fate of Dow Jones & Co. in 2007, when the long-time controlling Bancroft family sold the media giant and its marquee title, The Wall Street Journal, to News Corp.

Murdoch's looming threat
The Ochs-Sulzbergers have led the Times Co. since 1896, when Adolph S. Ochs bought controlling ownership for $75,000.

But in recent years, observers have questioned how long the family can maintain control amid growing competition online -- and from News Corp. Under News CEO Rupert Murdoch (left), the Journal increasingly is encroaching on The New York Times' franchise; the WSJ reportedly is about to launch a 36-person New York City Bureau, for example.

The Times Co. board elections are to be held at the annual shareholders meeting, set for April 27.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments focused squarely on topics related to the New York Times Co. and its affiliates.