ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The president of the Miss America Organization is stepping down after nearly two years at the helm.
Sharon Pearce has served the group for the past nine years. She became president in 2013.
The organization announced Friday that Sam Haskell, its chairman and CEO, has been promoted to executive chairman and will assume Pearce's duties.
"Sharon has provided a great service to our organization," Haskell said. "Her support of me, the staff and thousands of young women coast to coast will never be forgotten."
Pearce told The Associated Press that she wants to spend more time with her family. She helped lead the pageant during its return to Atlantic City in 2013 after a brief stint in Las Vegas.
Lynn Hackerman Weidner was named chairwoman of the board. A former Miss New Jersey, she is the first former Miss America contestant to hold the position.
The pageant will mark its 95th anniversary this September at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
The Miss America Foundation board of trustees also announced the appointment of two new trustees: Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, and Dan Meyers, vice president of the DCI Group, who will work with the Miss America Organization on its communications strategy and public relations efforts.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC