Report: Internal grumbling that ‘Times’ publisher (and interim C.E.O.) Arthur Sulzberger Jr. travels too much

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Claudia Gonzalez and Arthur Sulzberger. (Quien.)
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In a piece today about the "leadership vacuum" at the New York Times Co. following the abrupt exit late last year of C.E.O. Janet Robinson, Bloomberg's Edmund Lee and John Helyar report that some executives are uneasy about chairman Arthur Sulzberger's international travel schedule.

They write:

The 60-year-old chairman is serving as interim CEO amid internal concerns about his travels overseas, according to two people familiar with the matter. In the last 19 months, Sulzberger has attended at least a dozen conferences and panels in Istanbul, Beijing, Munich, London, Paris and Switzerland where his girlfriend, Claudia Gonzalez, works. His trips are aimed at establishing Times Co. as a global brand, said Robert H. Christie, head of corporate communications.

This is not the first time questions have been asked about Sulzberger's travel schedule—or the fact that he now appears to be in a committed cross-continental relationship.

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As we reported back in September, a Time Inc.-owned Mexican society magazine called Quién was the first to report on the romance between Sulzberger and Gonzalez, who we then characterized as "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."

But this was the nugget from the Quién piece that caught our eye: "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.”

At the time, we asked Christie about whether Sulzberger's travel was getting in the way of his day-to-day duties, which are even more demanding now that he is doubling as interim C.E.O. (he also serves as publisher of The New York Times), but Christie declined to comment, telling us: “We don’t comment on the personal lives of our executives.”

As it happens, Sulzberger is in Switzerland this week for the annual World Economic Forum, where he has been a fixture. This year, he brought at least one bit of Times business with him: Introducing newly-installed Times executive editor Jill Abramson to the Davos set during a dinner party he hosted in her honor Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Lee and Helyar's sources echo earlier reports suggesting Robinson was pushed out by Sulzberger, although they add one key detail that's sure to further rankle Times union members who were already fuming about the golden parachute Robinson received on her way out the door: Her exit package will in fact cost the company $21 million, as opposed to the $15 million figure that had previously been reported.