In a surprising move, New York Times op-ed page editor David Shipley is leaving the paper and heading to Bloomberg.

“It’s too bad. David is great,” said editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal.

This story first appeared in the December 16, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While no search for a successor has begun, Rosenthal said he was in talks with Shipley about the move for some time.

“I’ve been working with David for a long time,” he said. “We worked here and on the national desk. I think he’s one of the best editors that has worked for us. He runs a fabulous op-ed page. He is smart. He is a good leader. He has been really creative, and we’ve expanded our online presence enormously, and he’s overseen that. I’m sorry to see him go.”

The move certainly wasn’t a welcome bit of news for Times staffers — Shipley was extremely well liked.

“David is about as compassionate and humane a boss as anyone could ever hope to have,” e-mailed Mark Lotto, a staff editor at the op-ed page. “And he has the most remarkable clarity of thought: He can see the best way into every idea, whether it should be explored in a long essay or a short one, written by a novelist or a scientist, whether it should inspire a piece of art or be broken down into a chart.”

Shipley, who’s held the job of op-ed page editor since 2003, oversaw writing and design from guest contributors. He was also instrumental in shaping the Times’ editorial online presence — finding writers (Stanley Fish, Tim Egan, Dick Cavett), overseeing the blogs and ginning up the ideas.

Shipley’s new job teams him up with former State Department staffer James Rubin. They’ll be in charge of running editorials at Bloomberg for something being called Bloomberg View.

Though Shipley’s job at the Times largely concentrated on finding writers and brainstorming ideas, in his new role he will mostly oversee unsigned editorials. Shipley will concentrate on editorials regarding the United States and Canada; Rubin will work on foreign policy. They will start in January, a spokesman said. Bloomberg View will be text-based and carried over a variety of platforms.

Meanwhile, the Times will have to start a search for a replacement for a very big job.

“I hope the announcement will generate a lot of volunteers,” said Rosenthal. “I want somebody who is creative and thinks broadly and is a really good line editor and is a good manager.”

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