The Los Angeles Times has selected Kevin Merida, who spent two decades at The Washington Post and led ESPN’s The Undefeated vertical since 2015, as its next executive editor.

Merida, who will start in June, will serve as the paper’s 19th executive editor and will be the third person of color to lead the L.A. Times. He replaces veteran editor and reporter Norman Pearlstine, who now serves as a senior advisor to the executive chairman.

“I am excited to be the next executive editor of the L.A. Times, and will bring with me an open heart, a penchant for experimentation and a fiercely competitive spirit,” Merida said in a statement. “Looking forward to partnering with new colleagues and soaring to greater heights together.”

At the end of his 22-year run at the Washington Post, Merida served as the first Black managing editor at the paper, where he oversaw news and features. With Merida at the second-highest position, The Post won four Pulitzer Prizes. In 2015, he moved to ESPN to lead The Undefeated, which focuses on the intersection of sports, race and culture.

In 2020, Merida received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists and was elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board.

“Kevin possesses a clear understanding of the rigor necessary for independent journalism and how to translate that journalism to multiple platforms,” L.A. Times owners Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong said in a statement. “He also shares our passion for the unique opportunity we have to build the L.A. Times into a media enterprise with a distinct West Coast point of view.”