NEW YORK - West Africa Bureau Chief Todd Pitman will become chief of bureau in Bangkok for The Associated Press, responsible for directing coverage of Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, an area of booming economic activity but showing strains of political unrest.The appointment was announced Thursday by Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski, who oversees international news and photos.
"Todd Pitman brings wide-ranging experience to this post acquired in an impressive career as a correspondent working in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Africa. He has a strong knack for understanding international events," said Daniszewski.
In Bangkok, Pitman, 40, will report to Asia-Pacific Editor Brian Carovillano. He is expected to assume his post in February.
Pitman succeeds Denis D. Gray, who has retired as one of AP's longest serving international bureau chiefs, appointed to Bangkok in 1978. Gray will remain in Thailand and continue to write on environmental and other issues across Asia on a contract basis.
Pitman joined AP in 2001 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. From 2002-2003, he was posted to Kabul, where he led the AP's Afghanistan coverage as chief correspondent.
In 2005, he was promoted to chief of bureau in Dakar, Senegal, where he has been responsible for overseeing news in more than 20 countries in west and central Africa.
Pitman began his reporting career in Burundi in the late 1990s and spent several years in central and eastern Africa as a print and radio correspondent for international media organizations.
The Athens, Georgia, native has reported on major stories and upheaval across the African continent. In Congo, he trekked two days into the forest earlier this year to report on the changing lives of some of the world's last hunter-gatherers, the Mbuti Pygmies.
Pitman, who graduated in 1993 from the University of Georgia, has also covered Lebanon and Iraq, where he embedded on the front lines during some of the bloodiest days of the war.
In 2008, he won the Associated Press Managing Editors' award for feature writing for the story "Iraq Through the Looking Glass," which chronicled the deaths in a bomb blast of six U.S. soldiers and his friend, Russian photographer Dmitry Chebotayev.