NYT publisher again defends removal of Abramson

Jill Abramson, Bill Keller, Dean Baquet
In this June 2, 2011 file photo released by The New York Times, managing editor Dean Baquet, executive editor Jill Abramson, center, and outgoing executive Bill Keller, pose for a photo at the newspaper’s New York office. The New York Times announced on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, that Abramson, the newspaper’s first female executive editor, is being replaced by Baquet after two and a half years on the job. (AP Photo/The New York Times, Fred R. Conrad)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. provided a fresh defense Saturday of his removal of executive editor Jill Abramson, saying it had nothing to do with his company’s treatment of women but with Abramson’s management style.
“During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues,” Sulzberger, who also chairs the Times parent company, said in a statement.
“The saddest outcome” of the decision, he said, is that many have cast it as an example of unequal treatment of women. He denied that Abramson’s compensation package was less than her predecessor’s. Abramson was named executive editor in September 2011, replacing Bill Keller. She was the paper’s first female executive editor.
“Jill’s pay package was comparable with Bill Keller’s; in fact, by her last full year as executive editor, it was more than 10 percent higher than his,” he wrote.
The Times replaced Abramson, 60, on Wednesday and promoted managing editor Dean Baquet, 57, to executive editor.
Abramson has yet to comment publicly. No one answered her home phone Saturday, and she did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message.
In a blog post Wednesday, 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 Keller.
The New York Times reported in its initial story about Abramson’s departure that as part of a settlement agreement between her and the newspaper, neither side would go into detail about her firing.
Sulzberger then said in a memo to the newspaper’s staff Thursday that it is “simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessor’s.” He elaborated in the Saturday statement.
“Equal pay for women is an important issue in our country — one that The New York Times often covers. But it doesn’t help to advance the goal of pay equality to cite the case of a female executive whose compensation was not in fact unequal,” he wrote.
The Times’ chief executive, Mark Thomson, also sent a memo to the paper’s top editor on Friday defending the reasons for Abramson’s dismissal.
“Despite all you may have read or heard, Jill’s compensation was in fact greater than Bill Keller’s,” Thomson wrote, according to a New York Times story.
Abramson 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.
Abramson decided not to attend Brandeis University’s graduation Sunday, where she was supposed to receive an honorary degree. She is scheduled to speak Monday at Wake Forest University.

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