NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Times publisher and parent company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has denied media reports claiming that executive editor Jill Abramson’s dismissal had to do with her complaints over unequal pay.
The Times replaced Abramson Wednesday and promoted managing editor Dean Baquet to executive editor. The decision was made due to Abramson’s newsroom management, according to Sulzberger. Abramson had spent two and a half years in the newspaper’s highest editorial position.
In a memo to New York Times staff on Thursday, Sulzberger said it is “simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors.” He added that neither compensation nor any discussion about compensation played a part in his decision that Abramson “could not remain as executive editor.”
The Times announced the abrupt management change on Wednesday, but didn’t give a reason, which prompted a flurry of speculation in media circles.
In a blog post, New Yorker staff writer Ken Auletta quoted an anonymous “close associate” who said Abramson confronted the Times’ “top brass” about her pay after discovering that both her pay and her pension benefits were less than that of her male predecessor, Bill Keller.
“‘She confronted the top brass,’ one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was ‘pushy,’ a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect,”Auletta wrote.
But in the Thursday memo, Sulzberger said that the only reason behind his decision to dismiss Abrams was “concerns I had about some aspects of Jill’s management of our newsroom, which I had previously made clear to her, both face-to-face and in my annual assessment.”
Abramson, 60, was the paper’s first female executive editor. She joined the newspaper in 1997 after working for nearly a decade at The Wall Street Journal. She was the Times’ Washington editor and bureau chief before being named managing editor in 2003.
Baquet is the first African-American executive editor of the newspaper.
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