The first female top editor at the New York Times is leaving after only three years on the job, the company announced on Wednesday.
Jill Abramson, 60, a former investigative correspondent who took over for Bill Keller in 2011, will be replaced by Dean Baquet, 57, the newspaper’s managing editor and now its first African-American executive editor. The Times called the departure “unexpected.”
“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.”
The Times didn't immediately cite a reason for the departure. Sources say that the decision came as a big surprise to the newsroom and that no one saw it coming.
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Rumors of tension in the newsroom between Abramson and the other staffers, including Baquet, had been circulating for some time. Last year, Politico reported that Baquet stormed out of Abramson’s office in a tantrum following a heated argument.
There has also been speculation that Abramson clashed with CEO Mark Thompson.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the newspaper’s publisher and chairman of The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), called Baquet the best-qualified person to take on the top editorial responsibilities. “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 said in a statement.