The former editor-in-chief of Time Inc., Pearlstine may be best known for his controversial decision to hand a reporter's notes over to a federal prosecutor in 2005. He's currently the chief content officer at Bloomberg L.P.
A lawyer by training, Pearlstine spent 23 years at the Wall Street Journal, serving as Tokyo bureau chief, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal/Asia, and the first editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal/Europe. He spent his last nine years at the paper as its managing editor before leaving in 1992 to launch SmartMoney magazine for Dow Jones. In 1994, then-Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin named him Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief, succeeding Jason McManus. He spent 11 years at the company, shepherding Time Inc. through launches like People en Español, Teen People, and Real Simple before handing the reins to his long-time protégé John Huey in 2005. He later spent time as a senior advisor on media and communications to the Carlyle Group, which has counted George H.W. Bush, John Major, former SEC chair Arthur Levitt, and George Soros among its advisors and investors. In May 2008, he took a new job as chief content officer of Bloomberg L.P., where he's now tasked with retooling the company's TV, online, magazine, and radio operations. He's since worked his way up the ladder to Chairman of Bloomberg Businessweek and Co-Chairman of Bloomberg Government.
With Time reporter Matthew Cooper caught up in the Valerie Plame affair in 2005, Pearlstine made the controversial decision to comply with a subpoena and hand over Cooper's notes to the independent prosecutor investigating the outing of Plame as an agent of the CIA. Describing his decision as the "the most difficult I have made in more than 36 years in the news business," the move spared Cooper jail time and helped Time Inc. avoid a legal battle, but Pearlstine's decision was roundly criticized by his media colleagues. (Steve Lovelady wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review that Pearlstine "has joined that select handful of people who know with assurance precisely how the first sentence of their obituary is going to read.") Pearlstine wrote about the affair in Off the Record, which was published in June 2007. [Image via Getty]