LA Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine Announces ‘Open Search’ for Successor

“It’s the right time to find a successor — an editor who embodies the qualities needed to continue The Times’ revival,” Pearlstine writes in letter to staff

Last Updated: October 5, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine announced on Monday that the company is beginning an “open search” for his successor.

In a letter sent to staff, obtained by TheWrap, Pearlstine said he would remain as executive editor during the search and had accepted Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s offer to continue on as an “advisor” for the paper after his successor is found. Pearlstine’s contract is supposed to be up in 2021.

“It has been an honor to serve as your executive editor since Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong acquired the Los Angeles Times in June of 2018. Now, we have agreed that it’s time to begin an open search for my successor,” Pearlstine wrote. “I am proud of what we have accomplished. I also recognize it’s the right time to find a successor — an editor who embodies the qualities needed to continue The Times’ revival.”

Pearlstine was first brought on to the Times in an advisory role to help Soon-Shiong find an editor for his newly purchased paper and assist with the transition, but Pearlstine — a Time Inc. veteran — was soon hired by Soon-Shiong to be the paper’s top editor in June 2018.

Since then, his tenure at the paper has been marred by turmoil over the paper’s handling of diversity in its newsroom and coverage, as well as accusations from staff that Pearlstine is not a strong leader and does not have the vision to bring the Times into the future, has been so disengaged that he “falls asleep in important meetings” and that he verbally harassed a veteran reporter while dismissing concerns about “ethical lapses,” according to letters from staff previously reported on by TheWrap.

Read Pearlstine’s full message below:

Dear Colleagues,

It has been an honor to serve as your executive editor since Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong acquired the Los Angeles Times in June of 2018. Now, we have agreed that it’s time to begin an open search for my successor.

Pat has asked me to remain as executive editor during the search and to work with him on it. I have also accepted his offer to continue as an advisor after my successor is named.

My thanks to Pat and Michele for giving me the opportunity to work for them and with you. When they first asked me to serve as executive editor, we discussed a set of objectives. Put simply, we agreed it was important to recognize the talented Times staffers who had continued to publish meaningful, memorable stories during years of extraordinary turbulence and to complement that group with exceptional journalists who could help us attract and retain new audiences for our content.

I am proud of what we have accomplished. I also recognize it’s the right time to find a successor — an editor who embodies the qualities needed to continue The Times’ revival.

I remain excited about The Times’ future as you respond to new and evolving challenges and opportunities.

Staff and others who are interested in succeeding me should contact Nancy Antoniou.

All the best,

Norm