Jill Abramson
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, arrives for the State Dinner held for French President Francois Hollande at the White House in Washington, February 11, 2014. Photo by Reuters
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The New York Times Co (NYT.N) said that managing editor Dean Baquet will become executive editor of the company's flagship newspaper, effective immediately, succeeding Jill Abramson in an unexpected announcement on Wednesday.

Abramson, 60, was appointed The New York Times' first woman editor in 2011. Baquet has been managing editor of the newspaper since 2011.

In a statement about the move, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr, thanked Abramson but did not elaborate why her tenure as editor was ending.

New York Times shares were down 4.9 percent in afternoon trading after the announcement, touching a session low.

"Jill Abramson has my sincere thanks for not just preserving and extending the excellence of our news report during her time as executive editor, but also for inspiring her colleagues to adjust their approach to how we deliver the news," Sulzberger said.

Abramson said in a statement, "I've loved my run at The Times. I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism. Holding powerful institutions accountable is the mission of The Times and the hallmark of my time as executive editor, whether stories about China, government secrecy, or powerful figures and corporations."

Meanwhile, Natalie Nougayrede, first female editor-in-chief of prestigious French daily Le Monde, quit on Wednesday after a power struggle with top staff who last week staged a protest over her plans to revamp the newspaper.