Paula Shugart is ending her tenure as the president of the Miss Universe Organization (MOU).
Shugart announced her decision after the National Costume segment at the 2023 Miss Universe preliminaries in El Salvador on Friday morning (Manila time).
Before making the announcement, Shugart praised El Salvador for successfully hosting the pageant.
"Saturday will be a celebration and a culmination of this partnership and it's not getting any better than this and I can't think of no better place than this beautiful country on this magnificent stage to announce the end of my tenure as the president of Miss Universe," Shugart said, referring to Saturday's coronation night (Sunday morning in Manila).
She stressed that her decision was "months in the making" and "is not any response to recent events."
"I stayed because of my belief in El Salvador and my love for the Miss Universe brand. I always passionately believe Miss Universe is not about any one one woman it's about community, our community. It's about the passionate fans, the titleholders, the national directors who have remained dedicated to this brand through thick and thin and because of them the Miss Universe brand is strong and will remain resilient," she said.
Shugart took over as president of the Miss Universe over 20 years ago in 1997.
Her departure comes after JKN Global Group, the Thai media company that owns the Miss Universe beauty pageant brand, filed for bankruptcy while it tries to resolve a "liquidity problem."
The Miss Universe 2023 pageant will be broadcast live from El Salvador on November 19, 9 a.m. on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, Metro Channel, and iWantTFC.