Can Aaron Kushner Save the Globe?

Aaron Kushner, the former CEO of a small South Shore greeting-card company, has a top-secret cure for the dying newspaper industry. And he plans to put it to the test by buying the Boston Globe.

And yet, midway through our interview, Kushner’s phone, which he’d placed on the table between us, lights up with the words “Ben Bradlee Jr.” Bradlee spent 25 years at the Globe, including in the post of deputy managing editor. Without missing a beat, Kushner flips his phone onto its face. Maybe this guy is not so outsider after all.

When I call Bradlee later, he explains that Kushner approached him for guidance on his business plan. Bradlee was impressed enough to introduce him around town to potential investors.

“I totally support his goal to bring local ownership to the Globe again,” says Bradlee. “And he views it the way I do — as a prized civic asset, which hopefully can be brought back to its glory days.”

[EDITOR'S UPDATE: As this story was going to press, the Globe reported that Benjamin and Stephen Taylor, former Globe executives, had also joined Kushner's investment team.]

THE GLOBE — AND ALL NEWSPAPERS — face an uncertain future. No one knows what they will look like just 10 years from now. What is certain, though, is that the people ushering them into their next era bear an enormous responsibility. Perhaps recognizing this, Kushner says, “You know, in my own modest way, if I can move that needle further along, change the direction, how could I not?”

The comment suggests that Kushner feels a kind of calling to this titanic endeavor — and that he may be further on in the process than we realized.

At the end of our interview, Kushner doesn’t have time to linger. He rises, offers a quick, firm handshake, and then, like a man with a full day of important meetings ahead of him, strides toward the lobby and disappears.

  • Michael

    I’ve met with Aaron, he’s for real. This article is a bit misleading… his vision for the Globe is to invest in it’s future, not slash its headcount. If only for that, I hope the Globe gives him a

  • Maureen G

    As a former Renaissance Greeting Cards employee I am very disappointed to see Mr Kushner attempt to save the Globe. Better for the Globe to die in dignity than to be ripped apart and destroyed. He may have wonderful spreadsheets but that is as far as his business abilities go. He took two wonderful New England businesses and left them in tatters, mired in debt. Mr. Grabin showed great strength of character in not taking the opportunity to degrade Kushner. Those of us who were there know the truth. Renaissance Greeting Cards was a business run by a group of exceptional people who knew the true secret to success lies in treating employees with dignity and respect. We were inspired to be part of a profitable respected enterprise. It was an honor to work for them.