L.A. Times Shake-Up: Top Editor Pushed Out, Ross Levinsohn Named CEO

Ross Levinsohn - Getty - H 2017
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Multiple top editors have exited the newspaper in the wake of editor/publisher Davan Maharaj's firing.

In a move that shocked the newsroom and outside observers, Davan Maharaj was fired from his position as top editor and publisher of The Los Angeles Times, the newspaper's parent company, Tronc, announced Monday.

Ross Levinsohn, who once served as chief executive of The Hollywood Reporter's then-parent company Guggenheim Digital Media, was brought in by Tronc to serve as publisher and chief executive. In addition to Maharaj, three other top Times editors were dismissed Monday.

"While we are in a moment of change, we are facing unprecedented opportunity," Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in a memo. "I am excited about our people, I am proud of our ability to attract world-class talent and I am energized by our ability to transform and grow."

Jim Kirk will serve as interim executive editor while the company looks for a permanent editor in chief to replace Maharaj, who last year took on the additional title of publisher. Kirk most recently edited the Chicago Sun-Times, a position he left to join Tronc, which was once known as Tribune Publishing.

"My priority is to help ensure the Los Angeles Times continues to flourish and becomes an even more aggressive, competitive and sustainable organization," Levinsohn wrote in a memo to staff, obtained by THR. "I am confident that together we will accelerate the Los Angeles Times’ evolution and the digital transformation of tronc and produce its next stage of growth – always keeping our sights trained on our mission of producing ground-breaking and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism."

Levinsohn has also worked as an executive for Yahoo and Fox Interactive Media. In the memo, he announced a Monday afternoon all-staff meeting. "I look forward to working closely with you all to build on the Los Angeles Times’ tremendous track record, expand the reach of its journalism and help it reach new heights," he wrote.

"Ross is a digital media pioneer who has led the shift to digital at numerous media and content companies," Dearborn said.

Maharaj had been with the Times since 1989, when he began as an intern. "For months Maharaj has been under fire for his management style and editorial judgment, particularly regarding the handing of several controversial investigative reporting series," the Chicago-based media reporter Robert Feder wrote Monday.