Dean Baquet sends off Times ‘digital pioneer’ Aron Pilhofer

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Aron Pilhofer. (Blanquerna)
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Earlier today The Guardian announced that it had hired New York Times associate managing editor for digital strategy, Aron Pilhofer, as its executive editor of digital, a new role at the British paper.

In nearly a decade at the Times, Pilhofer has led the paper's interactive news team, which seeks to blend social media and technology with the paper's more traditional journalism, among other digital initiatives.

Newly minted Times executive editor Dean Baquet wrote to staffers this afternoon to announce Pilhofer's move.

"We are sorry to see him do there what he has done so well here," Baquet wrote in the message obtained by Capital.

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The Guardian's official announcement was attributed to incoming online editor Janine Gibson, which added an extra layer of intrigue to an otherwise routine, if high-level, poach. Gibson's recently revealed meetings with the Times for a digital editorship contributed to the paper's firing last week of Baquet's predecessor, Jill Abramson. Abramson reportedly failed to consult fully with Baquet on Gibson's potential hire.

"Delighted that @nytimes digital star, Aron Pilhofer, is joining Guardian as executive editor, digital, in June...," Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Read Baquet's full note below.

Dear Colleagues,

It is my unhappy duty to announce the departure of Aron Pilhofer, associate managing editor for digital strategy and a digital pioneer at The Times. He will join The Guardian in London as executive editor of digital, it announced, to help "drive The Guardian's digital transition."

We are sorry to see him do there what he has done so well here. Aron joined The Times in 2005, and two years later helped found Interactive News, an innovative team that has grown to include 40 developers, social media experts, comment moderators and a growing and useful analytics group.

He's also a near professional yakker, which has helped us build the deep and talented bench he leaves behind. He took some grief for jetting off to one conference or another (as well as for his posh -- guess that's the right word where he's going -- hobbies of tennis and sailing). But he served as a model ambassador for The Times as he scooped up the latest from elsewhere.

He's taking a big job. We will miss him but wish him very well.

Dean