Jill Abramson has “unexpectedly” been replaced as editor by Dean Baquet, the New York Times said on Wednesday.
Abramson, 60, a former investigative correspondent and Washington editor, was the first woman to serve in the top job. She was named editor in 2011.
“I’ve loved my run at The Times,” Abramson said in a statement. “I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism,” she said.
Times reporter Ravi Somaiya said that publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr attributed the change to “an issue with management in the newsroom.” This seemed a nod at widespread reports of her style detailed in largely unflattering pieces in Politico and the New Yorker.
Baquet was serving as managing editor of the paper when the change was announced. He had previously left the New York Times — where he was widely considered to be the future top dog — to be the No. 2 at the Los Angeles Times.
Baquet, 57, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, will become the first African-American executive editor at the New York Times. “It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a generation ago,” he said, “one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day.”
“There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet,” said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of The New York Times and chairman of The New York Times Company. “He is an exceptional reporter and editor with impeccable news judgment who enjoys the confidence and support of his colleagues around the world and across the organization.”
Sulzberger made the announcement to senior editors in a conference room Wednesday afternoon, the Times said, and later addressed the full newsroom.
The reasons for the switch were not immediately clear, though members of the New York Times newsroom took to Twitter to express disbelief and share the moment.
David Gelles wrote:
Stunned newsroom. pic.twitter.com/dooXpAHJoR
– David Gelles (@dgelles) May 14, 2014
Ravi Somaiya, who broke the story on the New York Times website, tweeted:
The change was attributed, by Arthur Sulzberger Jr, to “an issue with management in the newsroom”. No further details yet.
– Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya) May 14, 2014
Michael de la Merced, another Times writer, shared this photo of Baquet addressing the newsroom:
And here’s Dean Baquet in his first speech as the Times’s new executive editor pic.twitter.com/YvRuzYVvKW
– Michael de la Merced (@m_delamerced) May 14, 2014