3:54 pm Sep. 19, 2011
Meet "the Mexican woman who moves the New York Times."
“Mexican woman enchants head of New York Times” is the headline on the online version of the article, which popped up just about a month ago on the magazine's website to tease the story. “Claudia González is romantically involved with the president of this media company, Arthur Sulzberger Jr.,” reads a subheading. “They met in Mexico and it was love at first sight.”
Quién is a biweekly magazine somewhere in the middle of the "quality" range: It ain't Vanity Fair but it's not Star, either. And it's published by Time Inc.'s Mexican subsidiary, the company that also produces Mexican versions of Elle and InStyle among other titles.
González is beautiful, and accomplished; a fixture in the international philanthropic and Big Ideas jetset with a resume that includes a stint as the head of marketing for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and degrees from The London School of Economics. So it's understandable why she belongs in the magazine's cast of characters. (On the blog Guanabee, the title is habitually called a rag for "fresas," which to us means "strawberries" but in Mexico City doubles as a word for "snobs.")
She's not herself on the cover, though the story is sold alongside one about young Mexican creative luminaries and the “separate lives” of King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles of Great Britain. (We don't quite know what that means.)
The sister of the Mexican actress Celia Romo is now marketing director of a Geneva-based global fund that raises money to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. She lives in Geneva with her two kids.
“The couple has two things in common,” claims the web version of the article in Quién, “a passion for journalism and altruistic events.”
Quién publishes crystal-clear close-ups of Sulzberger and González dining together and posing with their arms around one another against a serene mountain vista. (A Quién watermark pattern covers the photos, though all indications a month later were that they had hardly burned up the internet.)
“Many don’t even know who this beautiful woman is on the arm of one most important men in U.S. media, Sulzberger, 59," the online version of the article begins. "For his part, Sulzberger looks happy and radiant all thanks to a certain 40-year old Mexican woman by the name Claudia González Romo.
“The romance began during a trip both of them took to Mexico over New Year’s, where they stayed with Carlos Slim’s family,” the story continues. (Slim is the billionaire investor who bailed out the Times Company in 2009 and raised his ownership stake to more than 7 percent last month.)
But alas: “Claudia and Arthur must split their love since she’s in Geneva and he’s in New York. ... They see each other every two weeks either in one of their homes or some spot in between.”
“We don’t comment on the personal lives of our executives,” a Times Company spokesperson told Capital, when we called to ask about the article.
The blanket no-comment also applied to our main question and reason for calling: Is Sulzberger splitting his time between Geneva and New York, and if so, how is he running the day-to-day affairs of the company?
The Times has made at least one recent exception to the "no commenting on personal lives" policy, for possibly obvious reasons: When rumors connected Sulzberger to Caroline Kennedy, much in the news since she was floated as a possible appointee to the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, the paper denied the rumors. (Though that decision was made by the Times' previous public-relations regime, before Bob Christie, the present senior vice president for corporate communications, took the helm.)
But the paper stuck to the policy in at least one other case.
And there is at least one dubious thing in the Quien article. If the two are in fact an item, they can hardly have met over New Year's.
Here are González and Sulzberger last fall at Ariel University in the West Bank, touring the campus with Bill Keller (then executive editor of the Times), Susan Chira (then foreign editor) Andrew Rosenthal (editorial page editor) and Ethan Bronne (Jerusalem bureau).
Back in January, Business Insider editor-in-chief Henry Blodget gushed about how he’d met Sulzberger for the first time while traveling to this year's World Economic Forum gathering in Davos (that annual very-important-person confab to which Blodget and Sulzberger were both en route) following a stop earlier in the week at Munich’s Design Life Digital Conference (where González and Sulzberger had appeared as speakers).
“I wouldn't go so far as to say Arthur and I are pals now, but it's a start,” Blodget wrote in a post on Business Insider. An additional reference to Sulzberger’s “companion (wife?),” whom Blodget described as “absolutely fabulous, by the way. Tall, dark-haired, radiant,” was removed at some point subsequent to publication, though it lives on in a cached version of the article.
Six months later, González and Sulzberger made a cameo in the Daily News’ July 19 Gatecrasher column, which reported that Sulzberger “stood out in a crowd of media A-listers, thanks to the beautiful brunette who dined next to the N.Y. Times publisher at the Nelson Mandela Day luncheon at the Four Seasons Monday.” The gossip item went on to name and describe González. It mentioned that she’d been seen with Sulzberger in Davos earlier in the year, but stopped short of suggesting a love affair between the two.
No, they have to have met some time ago; when they fell in love is presumably beyond even the powers of Quien to assess.
Sulzberger announced in May of 2008 that he and his wife, Gail Gregg, had decided to separate.
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