Brauchli, 51, led the newsroom during a particularly challenging financial period for the news industry. He is officially resigning, but his tenure has been marked recently by tension with Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth, especially over budget and financial issues.
Baron has been editor of the Globe since 2001. He will assume the top editorial position at The Post on Jan. 2.
Weymouth, Brauchli and Donald Graham, chief executive of The Washington Post Co., were reluctant to discuss the circumstances surrounding Brauchli’s departure as executive editor in interviews Tuesday. Brauchli was Weymouth’s choice for the job four years ago; he was chosen to run The Post’s newsroom several months after he was forced to resign as editor of the Wall Street Journal following its purchase by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Weymouth said in an interview that Brauchli “decided to step down.” But she acknowledged, “In this day and age, there’s always some tension between the publisher and the editor. Did we always see eye to eye? Of course not. But we had a strong enough relationship to talk through our differences.”
Brauchli, who will become a vice president of The Washington Post Co. with responsibility for evaluating new media opportunities, said, “It made sense to make a change at this time, and Don had an interesting job that he wanted done.” Brauchli said that he and Weymouth “mutually agreed” to his resignation.
Hours before the announcement, Brauchli had issued a rare stop-the-presses order early Tuesday to get late-breaking news about the unfolding scandal around former CIA director David H. Petraeus into late copies of the paper.
Weymouth, Brauchli and Graham jointly announced the transition to The Post’s newsroom Tuesday morning. While the change of editors had been rumored for several months, there were many expressions of surprise among staff members that it had actually taken place.
Brauchli recounted some of the journalistic highlights of his eventful tenure in remarks to the paper’s journalists, coverage of two wars, the Arab Spring, weather calamities and last week’s election among them. His comments were followed by about 60 seconds of applause. Brauchli was visibly moved by the reception.
During the meeting, Weymouth was asked just one question by a Post reporter: “Why did you do this?” She declined to answer.
The announcement represents an uncharacteristic bit of turbulence for a newsroom that was guided for decades by just two men, Benjamin C. Bradlee and his successor, Leonard Downie Jr., who spent his entire journalism career at the paper. Brauchli was the first non-Post employee in decades to assume the top newsroom position when Weymouth hired him in July 2008.