Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the chairman of The New York Times Co. (NYT), is taking a pay cut this year and next along with his cousin, the vice chairman of the company, to create a bonus pool for employees, the Times disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday.

Sulzberger and Michael Golden told employees in a letter that their plan to forego stock-based compensation for two years — which they described as a personal decision — would result in about $2 million becoming available for payments to reward exceptional performance by staff who don't participate in the Times' annual bonus plan.

The first round of bonuses would be distributed next February, with a similar amount being paid out the following February, they said.

Last year Sulzberger and Golden received restricted stock awards and stock options valued at $2.2 million, according to the company's proxy statement. Sulzberger got a salary of $1.1 million and a cash bonus of $560,521, while Golden had a salary of $608,960 and a bonus of $233,536.

The grants will be made across the company, Sulzberger and Golden said, and will be left to the discretion of senior management.

"As we make our way through the challenging period of transition that we and our industry are in, there are a few things of which we at The New York Times Company can be sure. One is that we're in this together," Sulzberger and Golden said in their memo.

The Times announced on Tuesday that it intends to sell its group of nine network-affiliated TV stations to concentrate on its newspaper and digital businesses. The stations accounted for 4 percent of the company's revenue last year.

Like other newspaper publishers, The New York Times Co. has been hurt by higher newsprint costs and as readers and advertisers move to the Internet. The Boston Globe has also suffered because of a poor economic climate there and the consolidation of key advertisers including Macy's.

In July the company reported flat earnings for its second quarter and said it would reduce the width of flagship newspaper and also close one of its two New York-area printing plants.