Filling the newly vacant No. 2 post at the Los Angeles Times has turned into a proxy fight between the newspaper’s new editor, Davan Maharaj, and its President and COO, Kathy Thomson.
As TheWrap reported on Tuesday, the two leading candidates to succeed Maharaj as managing editor for news are Sallie Hofmeister, assistant managing editor of arts & entertainment, and Scott Kraft, Page One editor.
According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Thomson wanted to name a successor to Maharaj Tuesday -- the same day the company announced that editor Russ Stanton was stepping down and that Maharaj was replacing him.
Eager to place a woman and an ally in a top position, Thomson wanted Hofmeister.
However, Maharaj, who has a long history with Hofmeister from their days in the Business section, wanted no part of that.
“Davan has been strongly resisting [Hofmeister],” the individual told TheWrap. “He wants Scott Kraft. It’s a really interesting test to see how much power Kathy tries to wield here in forcing him to take Sallie.”
"There is no battle underway," a Times spokesperson said via email.
Hofmeister, who joined the Times in 1995, has run the arts & entertainment side of the paper since February of 2009. She did not return multiple requests for comment.
Thomson rejoined the paper in her current position May of 2011 and previously served as Chief of Staff.
“The thing about Sallie is she’s brilliant at back channeling,” the person said. “She’s incredibly charming and saw an opening with Kathy getting in there. That’s clearly reflected in Kathy’s suggestion that she be elevated.”
Kraft is also a Times veteran, having served as national editor and deputy foreign editor. In his latest role as editor of the front page, he has worked very closely with Maharaj who oversaw all news operations.