Five years after selling the HuffPo to AOL for $315 million in 2011, Arianna Huffington has had enough of media, and as she announced moments ago, she is stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post which she founded in 2005 to run a new health and wellness venture.
I thought HuffPost would be my last act. But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global.— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) August 11, 2016
Huffington, 66, announced her departure in a memo to staff of the publication. She said she had intended to keep running the Huffington Post but decided to turn her attention to her startup, Thrive Global, after attracting investors and hiring staff.
"I thought HuffPost would be my last act. But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global" Huffington tweeted at the same time a Wall Street Journal article announced her departure. "To everyone at HuffPost: it’s you who make HuffPost what it is. I’m filled with gratitude to all the colleagues and friends I’ve made here." According to Politico, Huffington will leave her namesake company in the next few weeks. Thrive Global, a company which will counsel companies on staff health and wellbeing, is an outgrowth of Huffington's recent projects and books on sleep and wellness.
Huffington had told her staff that she was launching the new company back in June, but said it would not be a media venture. The new company, Huffington announced on Thursday, has closed its Series A funding round with investors like Sean Parker and Ken Lerer, himself a founder of Huffington Post who left when the company sold to AOL in 2012.
"Since publishing Thrive and then The Sleep Revolution, I've dreamt of taking the next big step to help transform the way we work and live,” Arianna Huffington is quoted saying in a press release. “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."
"I step down as editor-in-chief filled with gratitude for our amazing HuffPost team and for what we've built together, and for Tim Armstrong who had the vision to buy HuffPost five years ago and to support from day one our global expansion," she added. "The journey of the last eleven years has exceeded my wildest expectations. I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished and very confident about HuffPost’s future with the strongest leadership team we’ve ever had and the full support of AOL and Verizon. And of course, HuffPost will always be part of me, and I'll always be here to help in every way possible as it continues to reach new heights."
Huffington founded The Huffington Post in 2005 alongside Lerer, the late Andrew Breitbart and Jonah Peretti, who then went on to become major media figures in their own rights with the founding of conservative news site Breitbart and BuzzFeed. In 2012, AOL bought The Huffington Post. In a statement, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he's "confident" that the current editorial leadership will keep the Huffington post going.
As Bloomberg adds, Verizon had given Huffington permission to pursue the new venture while staying with the company, where she serves as president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News in June.
"Arianna is a visionary who built The Huffington Post into a truly transformative news platform,” Armstrong said. “Today, The Huffington Post is a firmly established and celebrated news source and AOL and Verizon are committed to continuing its growth and the groundbreaking work Arianna pioneered. We are confident that our strong editorial leadership team will maintain the exacting standards and high-quality journalism of our Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom. The Huffington Post draws more than 178 million people worldwide on a daily basis and continues to distinguish itself with groundbreaking reporting and analysis. We remain committed to our mission of making The Huffington Post the most influential and innovative news company in the world.”