NEW YORK — Arthur Sulzberger, the former publisher of the New York Times who transformed the newspaper during his more than 30 years at the helm, died Saturday. He was 86.
Sulzberger died in Southampton, New York, after a long illness, the New York Times reported.
Sulzberger took over the company in 1963 and spearheaded an expansion that broadened the newspaper's coverage, diversified the company's operations and stabilized its finances.
The latter allowed the New York Times and its reporters find stories without worrying about the bottom line, many said.
"Making money so that you could continue to do good journalism was always a fundamental part of the thinking," John F. Akers, a retired chairman of I.B.M. and former Times Company board member, told the paper.
The family paper, founded by Sulzberger's grandfather, Adolph S. Ochs, in 1896, was handed to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., in the 1990s.
"Adolph Ochs is remembered as the one who founded this great enterprise. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger will be remembered as the one who secured it, renewed it and lifted it to ever-higher levels of achievement," Richard L. Gelb, a longtime Times board member, said in 1977, according to the New York Times.
President Obama on Saturday said Sulzberger was a "firm believer in the importance of a free and independent press, one that isn't afraid to seek truth, hold those in power accountable and tell the stories that need to be told," the paper reported.