The New York Times Has Two Chief Financial Officers

Photograph by Barry Winiker

After selling off assets, New York Times Co. is left with two chiefs tasked with managing its finances.

(Update: New York Times Co. reorganized its staff the day after this story published to eliminate the redundant CFO positions.)

New York Times Co. has too many people at the top. After it sells the Boston Globe, the company will have two chief financial officers overseeing a grand total of one newspaper.

With executives stationed at the corporate level and within the newspaper operations itself, the publisher has positions that will become redundant after the Globe sale. The Times newspaper employs Roland A. Caputo as its CFO, while Times Co. also employs a CFO in James Follo. Times Co. also employs a treasurer, Laurena Emhoff.

After selling assets unrelated to the Times brand — regional newspapers, About.com and a stake in baseball’s Boston Red Sox — the company put the Globe on the block last month. The current management structure is a holdover from the period when it owned those other businesses.

“They don’t need two CFOs, not with just one newspaper,” Edward Atorino, a media analyst with Benchmark, said in an interview.

Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment. The company, controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, is coping with a difficult advertising market as spending on national campaigns continues to shrink industrywide. That has led it to examine ways to cut costs.

Times Co., which hired Mark Thompson as chief executive officer in August, is expected to post a 1.4 percent sales decline this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Times cut around 30 newsroom staff through buyouts and job eliminations this year in an effort to contain costs. Those affected were not part of the Newspaper Guild of New York.

Cutting management jobs could be easier for Times Co. than firing workers covered by the labor union. The Guild contract, which was successfully renegotiated at the end of last year and represents around 1,000 of the 1,120 newsroom employees, still allows Times Co. to eliminate as many positions as it sees fit, according to Bill O’Meara, president of the Guild.

“They can still have layoffs, but they have to give us advance notice, and they have to offer a buyout first,” he said in an interview. The new contract makes it more expensive to cut Guild employees, according to O’Meara. They can get a maximum of two years of salary as part of an exit package, depending upon their length of employment. People who are not in the Guild can only get a maximum of one year as part of a buyout.

“It’s more expensive to cut Guild members, but they can still cut,” he said.

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