Dominic Massa / EyewitnessNews

New Orleans native Dean Baquet, who began his journalism career in his hometown as a reporter for two of the city's newspapers, has been named executive editor of The New York Times, the newspaper announced Wednesday.

Baquet, currently the managing editor of The NewYork Times, replaces Jill Abramson, who is unexpectedly leaving the position.

Baquet will become the first African-American executive editor at what is the nation's highest-profile newspaper.

He began his career in the 1970s as an intern at the now-defunct States-Item newspaper inNewOrleans, before becoming a full-time reporter in1978, and then joining The Times-Picayune staff when the papers merged. He stayed in NewOrleans until 1984.

'There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet,' said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of The New York Times and chairman of The New York Times Company. '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.'

Before serving as managing editor, Baquet, 57, had been an assistant managing editor and Washington bureau chief for The New York Times since March 2007. Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles Times, where he served as managing editor before being named editor.

During the 1990s, Mr. Baquet was an investigative reporter and national editor for The New York Times in New York and Washington, DC. He worked previously for the Chicago Tribune, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988.

A St. Augustine High School graduate, he majored in English at Columbia University.

His brother Terry is an editor at The Times-Picayune. The family is also well-known in NewOrleans food circles, as the former owners and operators of Eddie's Restaurant and now Li'l Dizzy's.

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