Culture

Arianna Huffington to Exit Huffington Post for Wellness Venture

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

From USA Today:

Arianna Huffington, the Greek American journalist who founded The Huffington Post, said Thursday she will step down as editor-in-chief to start a new venture, ending her groundbreaking and controversial 11-year reign at the liberal online news company.

Huffington, 66, has held talks in recent weeks with venture capitalists to fund her new media company, Thrive Global, which will launch in November and provide content and training seminars on wellness. Thrive closed a new round of funding, led by other co-founders of The Huffington Post, she said.

The Huffington Post didn’t immediately name her replacement. In a staff memo, Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, which owns The Huffington Post, said an interim editorial committee of other top editors will perform Arianna’s role for now and be involved in an ongoing search for a new editor-in-chief.

“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,” Huffington said in a statement. “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.”

Love it or hate it, Huffington Post is a new media giant, and Arianna Huffington can be called somewhat of a new media visionary for founding it. Another visionary, the late, great Andrew Breitbart, was one of the co-founders of the site before launching his own new media empire that essentially served as an ideological counter-weight to HuffPo.

Although it is most definitely a liberal site, some not-so-left types have toiled there too. HuffPo brought Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy together before Fox News Channel’s Red Eye was created.

Arianna Huffington is a savvy businesswoman, due in no small part to her understanding of where media is going. The landscape shifts more rapidly every day. When she sold HuffPo to AOL, it felt like a dinosaur media company trying to stay relevant and keep from fading. That “dinosaur” company was the industry heavyweight just a decade and a half ago.

There are any number of sections at HuffPo that could give Huffington’s new business venture a lot of free publicity and love. It will be interesting to see how much good will remains (there is no reason to think there isn’t a lot of it) and helps to maybe propel her to even more success.