Deputy business editor

With grim editor faces and private meetings up on the sixth floor fueling rumors about new cutbacks coming at the Times, the business section has filled a key opening. Davan Maharaj, a former Nairobi correspondent who has been an assistant editor on the foreign desk, is returning to Business as deputy editor. The memo follows. Meanwhile, what's this talk about fallout from the Washington bureau getting hit with a higher-than-expected White House travel bill?

To: The Staff
From: Russ Stanton, Business Editor

Assistant Foreign Editor Davan Maharaj is returning to the Business section, this time as deputy business editor.

Davan distinguished himself as a reporter in Business in his first stint here, from 1998 to 2001. He broke several stories about the Bridgestone/Firestone tire debacle and produced several other memorable pieces from the legal beat, including a story about how customers of big-box stores were being killed or maimed by falling merchandise (re-published in the annual "Best Business Stories of the Year" by Vintage Press) and a masterfully written tale of a Beverly Hills "entrepreneur" whose primary occupation appeared to be sinking expensive yachts to collect insurance money. Both appeared in Column One.

Davan has been on the Foreign desk since 2003. Before that, he was the paper's Nairobi bureau chief, where he wrote about conflict, corruption and underdevelopment, including the moving six-part series "Living on Pennies" that examined how hundreds of millions of Africans survived on less than a dollar a day. The series won the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing.

Davan has a degree in political science from the University of Tennessee and a master's degree in law from Yale Law School.

He will put his considerable reporting, writing and storytelling talents to use in helping identify and elevate stories to A1 and the Business cover. In addition, Chez Maharaj will resume oversight of the famed Business suuueeee, the afternoon spread whose Golden Era saw him engaged in weekly bake-offs with fellow epicurean Laura Dominick.

This appointment completes the roster of senior editors in the Business section, which includes fellow deputies Joel Sappell, who oversees entertainment coverage, and Henry Fuhrmann, who oversees coverage of the technology, energy and industrial groups.

The suuueeee is Biz section slang for a staff feed.

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