The Gray Lady Lives

Rumors of 'Times' Exec's Demise Are Denied

As staffers recall the town hall meeting, many continue to replay Raines's response to Joe Sexton, an editor on the Metro desk. When Sexton raised the issue of not asking for Blair's anonymous sources, Raines chastised him for using a profanity. After that, one source recalls, Sulzberger tried to calm Raines down, but it took a long time before Raines focused on addressing the substantive issue. Not asking about the sources "was a failure on my part," Raines said.

Sulzberger may believe Raines can change his spots, but Raines's detractors see his hubris as a fatal flaw, and some predict he will retire before turning 65, the Times' mandatory retirement age for top executives. Whether Raines stays or not, says one source, "the prospect of him leading the Times to some new era of greatness is gone."

If Raines is damaged goods, where does that leave Boyd, whom Raines was grooming to be his successor? "Gerald will never be editor of the paper," says one source. But no one seems to think Boyd will be fired. He is credited for his forceful efforts to promote minority journalists at the paper. And while some observers find Boyd's recent denials disingenuous, so far no one is painting him as the Frankenstein who created the monster.

The worst rap on Boyd seems to be his "brusque" personality, yet another factor he seems to want to deny. At the town hall meeting, Boyd denied giving Blair special treatment, describing himself as an approachable manager whose door is open to everyone. One source says Times staffers laughed hard at this, because the real Boyd is "sour and intimidating. He never has time to talk to anybody."

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