Arianna Huffington, co-founder of Huffington Post, is leaving her position as editor-in-chief at the Post in pursuit of a new venture called Thrive Global.
Ms. Huffington, formerly a political commentator, co-found the Post with Kenneth Lerer and Jonah Peretti 11-years ago and since then has helped grow the company into one of the biggest digital-first publications to date.
Now, after recently signing a new deal in June to become editor-in-chief at the Post through 2019, Ms. Huffington has stepped down, making the decision to focus entirely on Thrive Global.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Huffington said she realized that she couldn’t do both, so she had to choose.
“I really thought I could do both, but as we started building it up, I realized that it really needed my full attention,” said Huffington. “It is important to know when one door closes and another opens and I felt that moment had arrived.”
With Thrive Global hitting the ground running, Ms. Huffington has stated that she feels like she’s in the position of making a real change.
“Change is desperately needed if another generation is to avoid the burnout that all too often comes with success today.” said Huffington. “That’s why I’m filled with excitement at the prospect of devoting the rest of my life to accelerating the culture shift away from merely surviving and succeeding to thriving.”
Though, Ms. Huffington’s past with the Post has been shaky.
In 2011 AOL Inc. bought out Huffington Post for $315 million and was subsequently bought by Verizon Communications Inc. for $4.4 billion last year.
When AOL bought Huffington Post it created a lot of tensions in the management structure. In mid-2012, Ms. Huffington’s role at AOL shrunk significantly as she was taking off all of AOL sites and was given command solely over the Huffington Post.
Since then, the Huffington Post has undergone a series of changes and controversies that have both benefited and harmed the website.
It’s expanded significantly globally but has also received sharp criticism because of how the website treats its contributors, rarely paying them and claiming that exposure is pay enough. This has resulted in boycotts and threats to unionize against the company.
Despite this, Huffington Post has remained a significant player in the development of online journalism. As more and more news agencies fail to generate revenue, many are beginning to turn to the digital first/click baity techniques espoused by the Post.
With Thrive Global on the horizon, however, it will be interesting to see the direction in which the company goes.
And this won’t be her first time on the subject. In the past, she’s written books focusing on health and sleep such as “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder,” and “The Sleep Revolution: Transformation Your Life, One Night at a Time.”