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Times lineup shuffled at top

Business Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor John Arthur are named to new jobs.

April 24, 2008|Thomas S. Mulligan | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton reconfigured the paper's masthead Wednesday, elevating Business Editor Davan Maharaj to managing editor and naming Managing Editor John Arthur to the new position of executive editor.

Maharaj, business editor since February 2007, assumes oversight of the Foreign, National, Metro, Sports and Business departments. He will be responsible for shaping coverage, deploying people and overseeing personnel decisions with guidance from Stanton and Arthur.

The editors of those news sections will report to Maharaj.

Arthur became managing editor in July 2007. As executive editor, he will continue to choose the stories for Page 1.

He also will be in charge of production functions, including overseeing the copy and design desks and the photography department.

The Times in past years has separated the functions of Page 1 editor and the editor in charge of the news departments partly for workload reasons. One job involves evaluating and preparing stories for the next day's paper and coordinating that task with the production departments; the other involves longer-term planning of coverage and deployment of staff.

Another reason is to provide additional checks and balances. The Page 1 editor supplies an extra pair of critical eyes on stories that the managing editor -- as supervisor of the departments that produced them -- advocates.

Stanton, 49, announced the changes in a memo to employees Wednesday morning. He said he would name a new business editor "in the next couple of weeks."

Maharaj, 45, has worked as a reporter for The Times in Orange County, Los Angeles and East Africa. His six-part series "Living on Pennies," in collaboration with Times photographer Francine Orr, won the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing and inspired readers to donate tens of thousands of dollars to aid agencies working in Africa.

Another Maharaj story, an investigative report about a Leisure World attorney who inherited millions of dollars in stock, land and other "gifts" from his clients, led to changes in California probate law.

Maharaj has been an assistant foreign editor and, in Business, served as a deputy editor before assuming leadership of the department last year.

During Maharaj's tenure, the Business section revamped its coverage to give greater emphasis to consumer issues. It also redesigned its Sunday section to focus on personal finances.

A native of Trinidad, Maharaj holds a political science degree from the University of Tennessee and a master's degree in law from Yale University.

"Anyone who has worked closely with Davan knows him as a passionate advocate for good stories, and for the people who work hard to produce them," Stanton said in his memo.

Arthur, 60, a New York native and Stanford University graduate, joined The Times in 1986 as assistant city editor of the Orange County edition. In 1992, he moved to the national desk as an assistant editor. The next year, he became editor of The Times' San Fernando Valley edition.

In 1997 he was named one of the paper's four managing editors, with responsibility for the Ventura County, Orange County and Valley editions as well as for the Travel and Sports sections and the National edition.

From 2000 to 2005, Arthur served as the paper's deputy Page 1 editor/nights. He was named Page 1 editor in 2005 and was named managing editor in July 2007.

"John is a newshound with tremendous instincts," Stanton said, pointing out that, while "assigned to the Valley edition, he helped direct coverage of the Northridge earthquake and the North Hollywood shootout. The Times won Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of each of those breaking-news stories."

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thomas.mulligan@latimes.com

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