New York Times CEO Mark Thompson maintained in a letter published Friday that the termination of former executive editor Jill Abramson was not due to salary and then made a surprise claim.

“Despite all you may have read or heard, Jill’s compensation was in fact greater than Bill Keller’s,” Thompson wrote, in a letter. “Nor is it true that Jill’s unhappiness with her compensation was a factor [in her firing].”

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Executive Editor for The New York Times Jill Abramson speaks at the cocktail reception for the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Times)

Former executive editor for The New York Times Jill Abramson speaks at the cocktail reception for the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Times)

Earlier this week, reports circulated around the Internet that Abramson’s abrupt termination was due to salary. Abramson had become upset when she learned that her predecessor, a male, was paid more, the reports said.

The company has adamantly denied those reports.

A person with direct knowledge of discussions relating to Abramson’s removal added to the Times that she was offered a more gentle departure, but she declined. The Times source said the paper’s first female executive editor wanted to make it clear that she was fired.

The Times also reacted to a leaked report painting a dire picture for the country’s paper of record.

“The report calls for us to move with urgency,” newly appointed executive Dean Baquet wrote in a Friday memo. “I couldn’t agree more.”

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