PARIS — "I was not quite ready to go, but The New York Times has asked me to go," said Peter C. Goldmark Jr., chairman and chief executive of the International Herald Tribune, who announced Monday that he will step down after five years in the post.

In a statement to the IHT staff, he added, "And they have made clear that the job I have filled will no longer exist."

Goldmark also told his colleagues that he would be "the last publisher of the IHT as an independent newspaper…with its own voice and its own international outlook. This is a great loss. The world needs more independent voices, not fewer." The IHT’s editorial will now report exclusively to New York.

News of his departure doesn’t surprise people in the industry, who have already seen change in the upper echelons of the IHT since it was taken over last October by the New York Times Co. Until Jan. 1, when the acquisition went through, the Times and The Washington Post Co. were 50-50 partners in the IHT.

David Ignatius, the IHT executive editor, said in December that he would leave the paper in 2003 to return to The Washington Post. Goldmark told his staff that the Times will announce this week that Richard Woolridge, the IHT’s chief operating officer and his deputy, will take over the newspaper’s management.

"There is a code in the corporate world," Goldmark said in the statement. "Under that code, you are expected to leave it murky as to whether you are resigning or being fired. You are supposed to go quietly, you are supposed to say everything is OK, and you often pick up a nice fat check at the door.

"But on this and other issues of importance to me, The New York Times and I did not see eye to eye, so I am going to break that code today. Believe me, I will pay dearly for this, both financially and in other coin."

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