Times showbiz maven clocks out

John Lindsay is leaving his post as Los Angeles Times managing editor for features and design, with a staff memo saying he “will serve as a consultant for the paper’s redesign project as he explores future opportunities.”

Lindsay long guided the paper’s showbiz coverage — holding a number of posts since signing on in 1987, including editorial director of Calendar.

Co-workers’ speculation on his exit heated up after the Jan. 7 announcement of the promotions of Leo Wolinsky and Ardith Hilliard. Lindsay would have reported to Wolinsky, who was tapped exec editor. (Hilliard was promoted to associate editor/assistant to the editor.)

In addition, Lindsay was one of the few high-level editors to raise objections to publishing a Staples Center edition of the Times Sunday magazine.

Since then, the newspaper admitted a plan to let the Staples Center share in revenues from the mag — a deal not divulged when the magazine appeared, which has caused much hand-wringing at the paper, including a front-page mea culpa.

In the Times announcement about Lindsay, revealed at a news meeting to the staff on Friday, the 13-year vet was quoted as saying, “I have been thinking for a long time about the rapidly changing world and what it all means. What I’ll have time to do now is focus on what’s the best place for me to be in this new world.

“The timing is difficult. Some people will speculate about reasons that were not part of this decision. That’s unfortunate. But I can’t let gossip determine what’s best for me and those closest to me.”

Times editor-exec VP Michael Parks’ statement said, “All of us in editorial respect his decision and offer him our sincere thanks for the numerous positive contributions he has made to the Times.”

Lindsay and Parks were unavailable for comment.

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