Pearlstine, 78, announced Monday that he will stay in his post and help in the search for a new top editor, then will continue as an adviser after his successor is named, the Times reported.
Pearlstine made the announcement during a meeting with top editors and in a note to staffers, the paper said.
“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,” Pearlstine wrote. “Now, we have agreed that it’s time to begin an open search for my successor.”
Pearlstine previously held top editing jobs with Time Inc., the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine. He also was a senior executive at Bloomberg News.
Pearlstine helped rebuild a paper battered by years of cost-cutting, layoffs and mismanagement under its previous owner, Tribune Publishing, and led a hiring spree that added more than 120 journalists, the Times said.
But in the past six months, the paper faced a series of controversies as journalists worked from home to cover major events, including the COVID-19 pandemic and protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Staff members took leadership to task over the Times' historic neglect in covering communities of color and a failure to better diversify staff during the hiring surge, the paper said.
In a Sept. 27 letter to readers, Patrick Soon-Shiong said the Times “has ignored large swaths of the city and its diverse population, or covered them in one-dimensional, sometimes racist ways."
“We have committed to hiring more reporters and editors of color and to building an organizational culture that truly values representation and equity. We will strive to retain, mentor and promote journalists of color," Soon-Shiong wrote.
In his note to staff, Pearlstine wrote that he was “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.”