Richard T. Schlosberg III has been named publisher and chief executive officer of The Times, Robert F. Erburu, chairman and chief executive officer of Times Mirror Co., announced Thursday.
David Laventhol, the current publisher and chief executive officer, will step down Jan. 1 for health reasons, Erburu said.
Laventhol, 60, who is being successfully treated for Parkinson's disease, also will relinquish his post as president of Times Mirror but will remain with the company in the new role of editor-at-large. Times Mirror is The Times' parent company.
"Dave asked for the change for health reasons," Erburu said Thursday. He said Laventhol will remain a director of Times Mirror. "In his 23 years with the company, he has been a major contributor to the successful growth of Times Mirror."
Schlosberg, 49, also was named an executive vice president of Times Mirror, as was Curtis A. Hessler, in a senior management reorganization.
Hessler, also 49, who now oversees the corporate staff, will add to his duties the supervision of the company's cable television and professional publishing groups.
Schlosberg will retain overall responsibility for Times Mirror's other newspapers and magazines. He and Hessler will report to Erburu.
Schlosberg, who joined Times Mirror in 1983 as publisher and chief executive of the Denver Post, was president of The Times from 1988 to 1990. He later served as Times Mirror group vice president, newspapers, and was appointed a senior vice president this year.
Erburu, Laventhol and Schlosberg notified Times department heads and other senior managers of the changes during a meeting Thursday afternoon.
In a statement circulated to the newspaper staff later in the afternoon, Laventhol said he was "moving into a different role which will be a little less demanding, which will be helpful personally."
He said the Los Angeles Times possesses "a uniqueness that has created a powerful economic engine but which is also dependent on the credibility, integrity and quality of our journalism. That journalism is a rare and priceless asset for Southern California and around the world."
As editor-at-large, Laventhol will work with Times Mirror editors and executives on editorial content and news matters.
"It's been an honor to work for Dave Laventhol, who is one of the great leaders of American publishing, a shrewd and genial innovator who has led us smartly through a tough recession," Times Editor Shelby Coffey III said in a statement Thursday evening.
"Dick Schlosberg will bring to the job the verve, drive and savvy that have marked his career as a publisher and news executive of the first rank," Coffey said, adding: "We at The Times are lucky to have him as our new leader."
Laventhol became publisher in September, 1989. He began his career at the St. Petersburg Times and served as city editor of the New York Herald Tribune and assistant managing editor of the Washington Post. He joined Times Mirror as associate editor of Newsday, where he later served as editor, publisher and chief executive officer.
He was named a senior vice president of Times Mirror in 1986 and became president a year later.
Laventhol has served as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board and is chairman of the International Press Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a member of the boards of the Newspaper Assn. of America, the Associated Press and the American Press Institute. He and his wife, Esther, have two children, Peter and Sarah.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree in literature from Yale University and a master of arts in English from the University of Minnesota.
As senior vice president of Times Mirror, Schlosberg has chaired the Times Mirror Newspaper Management Committee, with the publishers of Newsday, the Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and the Southern Connecticut Newspapers reporting directly to him. The heads of Times Mirror Magazines also report to him.
Before joining the Denver Post, Schlosberg served as an executive with Harte-Hanks Communications. Schlosberg is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and holds a master's degree in business administration from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
He and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Richard and Debbie.
Hessler joined Times Mirror in 1991 as senior vice president responsible for the corporate staff. This year, he was named chairman of the company's operations committee.
Before joining Times Mirror, Hessler was vice chairman of Unisys Corp., responsible for all staff departments and the company's defense business. Hessler also served the federal government from 1977 to 1982 in posts that included assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget and executive director of the President's Economic Policy Group.
Hessler received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. He holds a J.D. degree from Yale University and a master's degree in economics from UC Berkeley.
In related management changes, Larry W. Wangberg, Times Mirror group vice president for cable television, will become a senior vice president. Edward E. Johnson, senior vice president for professional publishing, will assume direct oversight for Matthew Bender, the legal publishing company that previously reported to Hessler. Both men will report to Hessler.
Times Mirror Senior Vice President Donald F. Wright will replace Schlosberg as group executive for Times Mirror's Eastern newspapers and magazines, reporting to Schlosberg.