NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Arianna Huffington, founder of online media giant the Huffington Post, has announced she will be stepping down after 11 years to focus on a new digital startup, Thrive Global.
The one-time conservative commentator oversaw explosive growth at the online blog and news site that she co-founded in 2005, which went on to win a Pulitzer in less than a decade. The site is known for its celebrity and newsmaker blogs and for cobbling together articles using information from different newspapers and other sources.
In 2012, it won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on its series of stories about wounded veterans.
“I thought HuffPost would be my last act,” Huffington tweeted Thursday morning. “But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global.”
According to a release from Huffington, Thrive Global is intended to be a digital platform focused on “consumer well-being and productivity” to help curb stress and exhaustion associated with the workplace.
Huffington has published several books on the health benefits of sleep and the benefits of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “Thrive” and then “The Sleep Revolution.” Huffington became invested in the endeavor after her own experiences with workplace exhaustion — suffering injuries after collapsing from lack of sleep several years ago.
“As I went around the world speaking about Thrive and hearing people’s stories, I became an even bigger believer in the urgent need to turn that passion into something real and tangible,” Huffington said a statement on her Facebook page.
Last year, Huffington negotiated with the Post to include a “carve-out” in her contract that would allow her to work on launching Thrive Global while she still manned the helm at the online publication, Huffington said. However, as the startup became closer to full fruition, Huffington realized that managing both the startup while serving as Editor-In-Chief was too much to balance efficiently.
“One of the Thrive principles is knowing when it’s time for a new chapter to begin, and for me that time has arrived,” Huffington wrote.
“This has been a very difficult decision, but in many ways an inevitable one, given my commitment to building Thrive into a company that has a global impact on how we work and live.”
The Huffington Post is now owned by Verizon Communications Inc., and her departure comes several weeks after Verizon said it was buying the media properties of Yahoo Inc. for about $4.8 billion. Representatives for New York-based Verizon and The Huffington Post did not respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.
Huffington had warm words for her colleagues upon the announcement of 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,” Huffington tweeted.
The Wall Street Journal reports Huffington will leave the company in the next two or three weeks.
It was not immediately clear who will take over upon Huffington’s departure from the company.
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