New York Times reporter Don McNeil ripped publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. for piloting a "ghost ship" and being being overly fond of management fads and leadership gurus as the paper languishes amid labor strife, in an email sent to roughly 150 New York Times employees. McNeil said Sulzberger spends too much time traveling overseas and speaking at conferences while the New York Times and its staff are in open conflict over the latest collective bargaining agreement and the paper lacks a proper CEO (Sulzberger currently serves as interim CEO).
"[O]ver the last 20 years, Arthur has adopted a series of management consultants." McNeil writes in the email, which was published by Gawker. "First there was W. Edwards Deming, who led workshops having NYT staffers form 'quality circles.' Then there was one whose name I forgot who had us all post plastic-coated cards with 'The Rules of the Road' on our desks ... Then there was Jim Clemmer and his 'Put the Moose on the Table' philosophy that led Arthur to bring the infamous stuffed moose to the town meeting that finished off [former executive editor] Howell Raines."
Sulzberger is scheduled to go on a trek in the Himalayas with his latest corporate guru crush, Wharton School of Business professor Michael Useem.
"We put out a great newspaper every day," McNeil said. "But outside the newsroom, at the corporate level, we're sailing on a ghost ship."