The publisher of the New York Times has defended his decision to sack the paper's first female executive editor, denied her removal was sexist and listed her shortcomings as a manager.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr, in a 500-word statement issued on Saturday, rejected claims he had fired Jill Abramson because of gender bias.

Instead, he cited "arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues" as reasons for her dismissal.

Abramson, the paper's first female executive editor, was sacked on Wednesday. She was the first woman to hold the position in the New York Times' 160-year history.

Her abrupt exit led to intense speculation about whether sexism or salaries were behind her departure. But Sulzberger on Saturday described these as "persistent, incorrect reports".

"Her management of the newsroom was simply not working out. 

"Many of our key leaders are women. So too are many of our rising stars. They do not look for special treatment, but expect to be treated with the same respect as their male colleagues. For that reason they want to be judged fairly and objectively on their performance. That is what happened in the case of Jill."

Abramson has not publicly commented on her dismissal.

Source: Agencies