LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine announced Monday that he plans to step down from his position and that the newspaper would search for a new top editor.

Pearlstine, 78, made the announcement during a meeting with top editors, followed by a note that was sent out to staff.

“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 said Soon-Shiong “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.”

During his two years as executive editor, Pearlstine steadied a newsroom that had undergone layoffs, cost-cutting and other issues under former owner Tribune Publishing, which called itself Tronc. He led a spate of new hires and worked to improve the technology used to generate a larger online audience, according to The Times.

Recently, the newsroom was shaken by staff discontent over a lack of staff diversity and pressure to improve coverage of communities of color.

“We are committed to change, both because it is just and because it is mission-critical for our business,” Soon-Shiong wrote in a letter to readers. “Only a diverse newsroom can accurately tell this city’s stories. Only a newspaper that holds power to account and uncovers injustice can truly succeed.”

Pearlstine — a former top editor of Time Inc., the Wall Street Journal and Forbes and senior executive at Bloomberg News —  was hired by Soon- Shiong shortly after the billionaire businessman agreed to buy the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune two years ago.

Pearlstine said 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.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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