In conversations and emails, Abramson led both Sulzberger and Thompson to believe that she had consulted with other newsroom leaders about her decision to offer The Guardian’s Janine Gibson a job as co-managing editor, the sources said. Specifically, they said she implied that both Dean Baquet, her managing editor, and Janet Elder, the deputy managing editor responsible for newsroom resources and staff development, had been informed and were on board with the plan.
In fact, the sources said, Abramson had not consulted Baquet or Elder about her decision. Baquet did not learn about the offer until he was informed by Gibson herself at a lunch meeting — at which point the offer had already been made, the sources said. When Baquet voiced his frustration to Sulzberger the following day, the publisher concluded that his executive editor had misled him, and moved to fire her later that week…
On Monday, May 5, Abramson sent Baquet to meet with Gibson over lunch. The sources said Baquet went into the lunch expecting a casual conversation exploring what Gibson might be able to contribute to the Times. Instead, Gibson told Baquet that she was extremely tempted by the offer to become co-managing editor.
Baquet played along as Gibson discussed the offer, not wanting to betray his ignorance, and the lunch ended amicably, the sources said. The next day, he went into Sulzberger’s office and, according to the sources, told him he could not work in an environment where such important decisions were being made without his knowledge.