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New York Times Chairman Says Scandal ‘Hasn’t Made Things Easy’

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New York Times Co. Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the lingering scandal at the British Broadcasting Corp. has been a challenge for new Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson, who used to run the BBC.

“The British stuff hasn’t made things easy,” Sulzberger said in a brief interview last night at an event held by the Committee to Protect Journalists. “But Mark is a good man.”

Thompson joined the New York Times earlier this month after a career at the BBC, which he led for eight years. The U.K. broadcaster has been roiled by allegations that its popular host Jimmy Savile sexually abused dozens of children while he worked for the company. The BBC also killed a story last year by its “Newsnight” program that would have brought the matter to light, further raising concerns about a cover-up.

Thompson said he wasn’t aware of the abuse allegations and didn’t participate in stopping “Newsnight” from airing the segment. Savile died last year, before the scandal broke.

“I was not involved in any way in the decision-making about the ‘Newsnight’ investigation into Savile,” Thompson said in an interview last month.

Sulzberger didn’t elaborate on the issue yesterday, only saying he was glad to have Thompson fill the CEO role, which was vacant for almost a year.

“We are very happy to have him in the position after all that time,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmund Lee in New York at elee310@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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