The Huffington Post will soon be post-Arianna Huffington. The president and editor-in-chief announced publicly on Thursday
she would be stepping down from the site she cofounded in 2005 with Kenneth Lerer and Jonah Peretti, despite having several more years
on her contract, to focus on her new lifestyle, health and wellness venture.
Thrive Global, which will launch after the U.S. elections in November, is a “corporate and consumer wellbeing and productivity platform” (whatever that means) that Huffington had been trying to build while jointly serving as editor-in-chief of HuffPo. Thrive secured Series A funding late last week, according to The Wall Street Journal, prompting Huffington to reconsider her two roles. From the release announcing additional details on Thrive:
When I decided to create Thrive Global, I thought it would be possible to build a startup and continue as editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. Today, it’s clear that was an illusion. As Thrive Global moved from an idea to a reality, with investors, staff, and offices, it became clear to me that I simply couldn’t do justice to both companies…Running both companies would have involved working around the clock, which would be a betrayal of the very principles of Thrive I’ve been writing and speaking about.
Huffington’s sleep and wellness obsession has already pervaded the Post, with projects like its 24-hour popup Snapchat Discover Channel (the first publisher to get a pop-up channel) to promote sleep. But her abrupt departure from the publication was a surprise — though according to Huffington, it was not related to the recent Verizon-Yahoo deal. (Verizon acquired HuffPo parent company AOL last year.)
An internal committee, which includes HuffPo executive editor Liz Heron, will fill in for the time being and help search for a new editor-in-chief.
News of Huffington’s departure has drawn out loyal supporters in-house as well as those who turn up their noses at the publication’s mix of clickbait and strong reporting (it won a Pulitzer in 2012, and pushes out significant investigative work on its longform initiative, Highline). John Oliver, just recently on Last Week Tonight:
AP, meanwhile, described it as a “site is known for its celebrity and newsmaker blogs and for cobbling together articles using information from different newspapers and other sources.”
Others are marking it as a significant end of an era:
Photo of Arianna Huffington by C2 Montréal
used under a Creative Commons license.