Arthur Sulzberger, the longtime publisher of the New York Times, has died at age 86.
Sulzberger served as publisher of the paper from 1963 to 1992 and was seen as very influential during his time. He also served as chairman and CEO at The New York Times Company from 1963 to 1997, when he passed control over to his son.
Arthur Sulzberger died at his home in Southampton, New York, following a long illness, CNN.com reported.
Sulzberger guided the paper through some financial difficulties and transformed it into a national powerhouse among newspapers, the New York Times noted in his obituary:
The paper he took over as publisher in 1963 was the paper it had been for decades: respected and influential, often setting the national agenda. But it was also in precarious financial condition and somewhat insular, having been a tightly held family operation since 1896, when it was bought by his grandfather Adolph S. Ochs.
By the 1990s, when Mr. Sulzberger passed the reins to his son, first as publisher in 1992 and then as chairman in 1997, the enterprise had been transformed. The Times was now national in scope, distributed from coast to coast, and it had become the heart of a diversified, multibillion-dollar media operation that came to encompass newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations and online ventures.
Arthur Sulzberger was also a strong force behind the New York Times. Many see that influence on display in 1971, when he decided to publish the secret government history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers. As his obituary noted, it was a defining moment for Sulzberger and many believe his finest.