Linda Pizzuti Henry has been named chief executive officer of Boston Globe Media Partners, taking the reins after a seven-year run as managing director during which she helped accelerate the news organization’s transformation into a digital media company.
Henry joined the company when she and her husband, Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry, bought the Globe in 2013. She is the first woman to run the Globe in its nearly 150-year history.
“When I walked into the old Morrissey Boulevard building with John on our first day over seven years ago, past the hum of the presses and the welcoming smell of ink, I wasn’t sure exactly what my role would be,” Henry, 42, said Wednesday during a virtual company meeting. “But I knew that I was lucky to work here, and it was clear to me why this institution needed to not only survive the secular decline of trusted local journalism, but also needed to innovate and evolve and invest in a new way of doing things in order to thrive and effectively serve our mission.”
Henry quickly immersed herself in the news business and the region’s civic life, taking on the role of convener, especially among women in business, the arts, and nonprofits.
“I listened and learned and gradually took on more,” she said.
In addition to the print and online editions of the Globe, the company’s businesses are Boston.com, STAT, the online life sciences news site, and Globe Direct, a direct mail marketing company.
Henry ramped up the Globe’s events business; guided the market repositioning of Boston.com; helped STAT build communities and celebrate up-and-coming scientists; pushed to strengthen and diversify the company’s leadership team; and championed newsroom expansion, including a team of Globe journalists covering Rhode Island.
She also cofounded HubWeek, a creativity and innovation festival at which she has interviewed newsmakers including Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, and created the GlobeDocs documentary film festival.
“Her commitment to civic dialogue, to developing initiatives that both include and elevate us all is both refreshing and needed,” said Anne Finucane, vice chair of Bank of America.
Since joining Boston Globe Media, “Linda has led with intelligence and intention. . . . Her appointment is not only an important day for the paper but enhances her role as a driving force in Boston’s business community,” said Micho Spring, a top executive at PR firm Weber Shandwick and board chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Henry noted the progress Boston Globe Media has made in recent years: putting itself on a much stronger financial footing, growing digital subscriptions, and expanding into new media markets. She added that the company, as well as the entire industry, faces significant challenges, including the near-monopoly on digital advertising held by Google and Facebook and readers seeing less urgency in news in the future.
“We have to continue to add new beats, build new revenue streams, and be able to meet our readers on their terms,” Henry said in a companywide e-mail.
Boston Globe Media has been locked in tough contract negotiations for nearly two years with the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents about 300 journalists, advertising sales staff, and other employees. The Guild on Wednesday criticized the company for using lawyers from Jones Day “in its ongoing quest to strip away basic workplace protections from Globe journalists.”
Jones Day has drawn fire from Democrats and some of the firm’s employees for its representation of President Trump and for representing the Pennsylvania Republican Party in lawsuits filed before the presidential election. The state GOP has asked the US Supreme Court to review a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order extending the statutory deadline to return mail-in ballots established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The party argues the ruling was unconstitutional.
“We have been making progress,” Henry said of the contract talks. “I have full confidence that the teams will come together to finalize a new contract in the near future.”
Henry announced a series of executive promotions Wednesday:
- Chief financial officer Dhiraj Nayar assumed the additional role of chief operating officer, with responsibility for the development and oversight of the company’s finances, business operations, and administration.
- Claudia Henderson, currently chief human resources officer, was named chief people officer and executive vice president of organizational design and strategic communications, a new position.
- General counsel Dan Krockmalnic will also serve as executive vice president of new media, another new position, leading the company’s efforts to develop projects for television, film, podcasts, and other media.
- Anthony Bonfiglio was named chief technology officer, after serving as vice president of engineering.
- Tom Brown, formerly senior director of consumer revenue, was named to the new position of vice president of consumer analytics.
The appointments follow the recent hiring of Peggy Byrd as chief marketing officer and Michelle Micone as vice president of innovation and strategic initiatives.
Henry, who grew up in Lynnfield, earned her bachelor’s degree at Babson College and a master’s in real estate development at MIT. She has worked in real estate banking and for her family’s property development business, in philanthropy, and at sports cable network NESN. She expects to complete another master’s degree next year at the Harvard Kennedy School.
“She is interested in everything and everybody, which is what a real newspaper needs,” said Abigail Johnson, chair and CEO of Fidelity Investments.