Dean Baquet, who recently replaced Jill Abramson as the executive editor of the New York Times, is currently recovering from a malignant tumor that was removed from his kidney over the weekend, the Times reported on Monday.
The tumor was reportedly discovered on Thursday by doctors who believed it required immediate attention. The 57-year-old Baquet broke the news to his staff via email on Monday morning. He said he will spend about a week away from the office as he recovers from the procedure, which he said was successful. “[M]y doctors have given me an excellent prognosis,” Baquet wrote, according to the Times.
Baquet had served as managing editor up until last month, when, in a surprise shakeup, Abramson -- the paper’s first female executive editor -- was ousted by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the newspaper’s publisher and chairman of The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Baquet, in turn, became the Times’ first African-American executive editor. News groups like the National Association of Black Journalists applauded his appointment.
Baquet’s recovery comes as the Times is facing enormous internal and external pressure to transition to the digital world, a challenge underscored by the dire tone of a recent internal “Innovation Report” leaked by BuzzFeed. On Friday, Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s public editor, addressed some concerns noted in the report, including the difficulty of changing a corporate culture steeped in print -- particularly as print advertising still brings in the lion’s share of the company’s revenue. “In order to thrive, The Times needs radical change at an accelerated pace,” Sullivan wrote.
In his email to staffers, Baquet acknowledged that his absence is not coming at the most convenient time. “I assure you that I will be back there as soon as possible,” he said.