It wasn’t a coincidence that Kevin Merida did not call his boss, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, to warn him that a resignation was coming.
He did call his top editorial deputies and prepare them. But when the 67-year-old executive editor announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down after less than three years — five months before his contract was up — it came as a surprise, according to two people informed of the timing.
The newsroom, too, was shocked.
But perhaps they should not have been. In interviews with a half-dozen individuals close to the LA Times news operation, it became clear that Merida’s relationship with Soon-Shiong — though never close — had broken down irreparably by the end of last year over the owner’s interference in newsroom decisions, a lack of support for Merida’s independence as editorial leader and ongoing financial losses with no apparent plan to reverse them.