Arianna Huffington announced today that she’s leaving her news and lifestyle focused website, The Huffington Post, to focus on a soon-to-launch health, wellness and productivity platform Thrive Global.
“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,” she said in a release. “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.”
She adds HuffPo “exceeded my wildest expectations” and she will always be here to help in every way possible as it continues to reach new heights.”
AOL chief Tim Armstrong calls Huffington “a visionary who built The Huffington Post into a truly transformative news platform.” He’s “confident that our strong editorial leadership team will maintain the exacting standards and high quality journalism of our Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom… We remain committed to our mission of making The Huffington Post the most influential and innovative news company in the world.”
In addition, Armstrong says he plans to partner with Huffington at Thrive Global.
In June 2015, Huffington signed a four-year contract to stay as chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the site she co-founded 11 years ago, defying then-speculation she would exit in the wake of Verizon buying The Huffington Post owner, AOL.
AOL bought the Greek-born Huffington’s namesake site in 2011 for $315M with Verizon acquiring AOL for $4.4B last year.
Last month Verizon further expanded its media holdings with an agreement to pay $4.8B for Yahoo.
Some industry watchers wondered whether Huffington would decide that her new age sensibilities — HuffPo has a nap room — would be out of place at a more conventional telecom giant.
Thrive Global says it just closed its Series A funding round, led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. That reunites Huffington with HuffPo co-founder Ken Lerer and Erc Hippeau who was CEO when she sold to AOL.
Other backers represent a who’s who of the investment community including Blue Pool Capital, Greycroft Partners, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Zoe Baird, Nicholas Berggruen, Joanna Coles, Ray Dalio, Sean Parker, and NBA star Andre Iguodala.
Thrive Global says it will launch after the election and team with people who will develop strategies “for improving and enhancing brain health and optimizing brain performance..”
Psychologist Adam Grant says the firm wants to “help employees go from burnt out to fired up.”
Redstone says that in a connected world “it is a continual challenge to achieve a sense of peace, balance and well-being in our personal and professional lives.” Also challenging her sense of peace and balance are several bitter court battles in which she’s trying to oust Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman from the media empire built by her father, Sumner Redstone.