Arianna Huffington's online media outlet has named Eric Hippeau, a managing partner at investor SoftBank Capital and HuffPo board member, as its new CEO. Hippeau will replace Betsy Morgan, who was at the helm for only 18 months. HuffPo made the announcement today:
NEW YORK — The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) announced today that Eric Hippeau, managing partner of SoftBank Capital and former CEO of Ziff-Davis, has been named the company’s new chief executive officer. Current CEO Betsy Morgan, who is leaving the company, will be working closely with Eric Hippeau on the transition. The Huffington Post co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer made the announcement. Over the last year, The Huffington Post has been the fastest growing news site as measured by Nielsen Online and in December raised $25 million from Oak Investment Partners.
Mr. Hippeau has worked closely with The Huffington Post since SoftBank Capital led a Series-A company financing in 2006. Prior to SoftBank Capital, Mr. Hippeau was CEO of Ziff-Davis, when it was the largest media company in the technology sector. Mr. Hippeau led the company’s online initiatives, including the development of ZDNet into an online brand. He was also instrumental in SoftBank’s first investment in Yahoo! in 1995. In addition, Mr. Hippeau was responsible for founding ZDTV, a cable channel dedicated to technology and the Internet, and an early success in integrating television and the Web.
Betsy Morgan, who will also be vacating her seat on the Company Board, joined The Huffington Post as CEO from CBS News in October 2007. Over the last 18 months, Ms. Morgan has played a pivotal role in expanding the company’s audience, content and business ventures. Since she assumed the role of CEO, The Huffington Post has seen a six-fold increase in its audience and has doubled its advertising revenue. The company has nearly doubled its staff and expanded its senior team to include a Chief Financial Officer, Managing Editor and a SVP of Business Development. Under her leadership, the site has expanded its content verticals from five to ten and raised $25 million from Oak Investment Partners.
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Said Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of The Huffington Post, “I’m delighted that Eric is joining the company as CEO. Having worked closely with him for the last three years, I know firsthand what an invaluable asset he has been in our expansion. And now, given his impressive background in the industry and his intimate knowledge of HuffPost, Eric is uniquely able to hit the ground running as the company takes its expansion to the next level. Betsy has been the perfect leader for The Huffington Post during a critical period in the company’s life and helped build our brand tremendously. I have loved working with her.”
Said Kenneth Lerer, chairman of The Huffington Post, “Betsy has done a fantastic job as the CEO of our company. Under her leadership, we have significantly increased our traffic and advertising and have built a lasting brand. We wish her all the best and we will be working with her closely on a smooth transition. Eric promises to bring an unmatched set of experiences in publishing, web businesses, advertising and technology that will allow us to grow our company across the board.”
Said Eric Hippeau, “As an early investor in HuffPost, I recognized the site’s potential to redefine how news and opinion is disseminated in the digital world — thanks to Arianna’s and Kenny’s vision. I am looking forward to being part of the team which will establish The Huffington Post as a major, long-lasting media brand.”
Said Betsy Morgan, “As a shareholder in the company, I look forward to HuffPost’s continued success. The site is now more than blogging and politics; it is a genuine source of the news of the day and it reflects the culture of our times. I have assembled an amazing team that will continue to generate a fantastic product and grow the business. Together we have exceeded many of our goals, moving the company beyond the political cycle of last year to realize broad success every day.”
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Mr. Hippeau joined Ziff-Davis in 1989 as Publisher of PC magazine and he became its Chairman and CEO in 1993. In 1995, SoftBank acquired Ziff-Davis, and Mr. Hippeau continued in the role of CEO until 2000, when the company was sold. During his career at Ziff-Davis, Mr. Hippeau recognized early the prospects for the growth of online media. Under his stewardship, ZDNet became one of the earliest examples of a strong online business model evolving from traditional magazine content. He also directed several successful magazines and marketing service launches in the technology and Internet fields.
Mr. Hippeau was President of SoftBank International Ventures, where he established SoftBank’s international private equity funds and expanded them into Europe, Latin America and Asia. He was also SoftBank Capital’s board representative for its direct investments in industry leading companies, such as Yahoo Inc, Geocities and CNET. Mr. Hippeau serves on the Boards of Yahoo, Inc and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide