The New York Times names Joe Kahn its next executive editor

The next executive editor of The New York Times will be Joseph Kahn, the news org announced today.

Kahn, an experienced reporter who currently serves as managing editor, will take the reins from outgoing executive editor Dean Baquet midway through June. (Baquet will stay at the Times to lead an as-yet-unannounced initiative. A spokesperson for the Times said details about his new role would be announced “soon,” but not this week.)

Unlike the last time the top editor position turned over at the Times, this change was expected. Baquet, the first Black journalist to hold the position, recently turned 65 — the traditional retirement age for executive editors at the Times. In the lead-up to Tuesday’s announcement, Kahn was described as the “overwhelming favorite” and “obvious pick” to replace him.

When Baquet became editor in 2014, the Times had about 800,000 digital-only subscribers. Today, the Times has more than 10 million digital subscriptions — and has set its sights on getting to 15 million subscriptions in the next five years. Kahn will also oversee a newsroom that has grown rapidly, and now includes more than 1,700 journalists.

In an interview with Times reporters, Kahn said he plans to prioritize securing public trust. He added, “We don’t know where the political zeitgeist will move over time. Rather than chase that, we want to commit and recommit to being independent.”

Kahn, the Times reported, “charted an ambitious path” in remarks to the staff, “saying the paper should consider itself a direct competitor to dozens of news outlets, ranging from global television networks like CNN and the BBC to niche upstarts like The Marshall Project and The Information.”

For more about the man, the Times’ media reporter Michael Grynbaum has a profile of Kahn. (You’ll learn the F in Joseph F. Kahn doesn’t stand for anything. His Boston-based parents just wanted their son to share initials with John F. Kennedy.)

My profile of Joe Kahn: a decorated journalist who saw the potential of China before others, whose affluent childhood was disrupted by tragedy, and who is now tasked with leading The New York Times amid the challenges of a polarized era.

— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) April 19, 2022

In case you were curious: Like his predecessor, Kahn is not especially active on social media. His most recent tweet was posted in November 2021.

White smoke from the NYT building this morning

— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) April 19, 2022

I left the NYT in 2016 and never worked directly with Joe Kahn.

I’ve only heard good things about him as a person.

But he strikes me as the safest choice, a signal that the paper does not see a need for fundamental change, post-Baquet.

Is that right?

— Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) April 19, 2022

During my stint as public editor @nycscribe (who supervised international news then) was particularly cooperative and notably non-defensive. I appreciated him

— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) April 19, 2022

Because he is a restrained personality, and quite thoughtful, he is likely to minimize the inherent drama of his new role.

— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) April 19, 2022

Good. “Joe has a long history of seeing things clearly, even if he’s lonely in seeing things that way.”

— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) April 19, 2022

“I would not have thought that being a foreign correspondent in China would be good preparation to be executive editor of The New York Times in 2022.” – @nycscribe, on how his career prepared him to lead the @nytimes. (By @grynbaum)

— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) April 19, 2022

Sometimes the least surprising news is the best news:

— Tom Jolly (@TomJolly) April 19, 2022

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