Washington, DC; March 14, 2016 – Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley announced today that Bob Cohn will be the sole president of The Atlantic following James Bennet’s decision to leave the company for a leadership position at The New York Times. Under Bennet’s decade-long tenure as editor in chief, he has transformed The Atlantic magazine, its websites and video, and its live events presence. For the past two years as co-president with Cohn, he led the brand to record audiences and profitability. Bradley and Cohn will lead the search for a new editor in chief.
Bennet leaves The Atlantic at a time when the business is healthier, the leadership team stronger, and the journalism more impactful than at any point in its 159-year history. Last month, the brand was named Magazine of the Year in the 2016 National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media. This highly coveted honor is the culmination of Bennet’s immense contributions to The Atlantic and a testimony to his leadership.
In a memo to Atlantic Media staff today, Bradley writes of The Atlantic’s success during Bennet’s tenure: “It is true that it took 100 interviews for me to find James Bennet. What I really found was not one in a hundred, but one in a million. James Bennet recovered The Atlantic. More personal, James Bennet recovered my ownership of The Atlantic.”
On his decision to appoint Cohn sole president, Bradley writes in the same memo: “A first among equals as to extreme talent is Bob Cohn. [Bob and James] have formed a most-remarkable partnership. Now, I have asked Bob to step forward as president over the whole, both the editorial and publishing sides of the house. I don’t know that there is anyone more qualified in magazine publishing than Bob Cohn.”
“Under James’s decade of leadership, The Atlantic has reinvented itself for the modern media age,” said Cohn. “He safeguarded the future of our 159-year-old magazine by insisting we express its mission and heritage in the most contemporary ways, on any and (almost) all platforms that our audiences use. His moral leadership and uncompromising pursuit of excellence inspire and drive all of us here. To me personally, he’s been partner and friend on a fantastic journey, and I will sorely miss working with him.”
Bennet became editor in chief of The Atlantic 10 years ago this month, joining the organization from the New York Times, where he was Jerusalem bureau chief and White House correspondent. During his tenure, The Atlantic has dramatically increased its editorial reach and impact, reaching today an average monthly audience of 27 million. Under his leadership, the magazine has published countless high-impact cover stories, essays, investigations, and reports that have sparked widespread attention and influenced the national conversation. He was named Editor of the Year in 2012 by Adweek and 2009 by AdAge.
In stepping into the role of President, Cohn continues The Atlantic’s ambitious surge in audience, revenue, and impact. Cohn has led the business teams—print and digital sales team, creative marketing unit Atlantic Re:think, events division AtlanticLIVE, and strategic digital consultancy Atlantic Media Strategies—to record revenues and profits in the past two years. Total revenues across platforms and businesses have grown by 50 percent under Cohn’s leadership, as all groups continue to blow past benchmarks and set new industry standards.
In recent months, The Atlantic has been early to embrace new publishing platforms, forge new distribution and media partnerships, and expand its footprint in the U.S. and internationally.
Added Cohn, “We’ve been a leader in bringing new ideas and innovative technologies to both our journalism and our marketing platforms. That’s an essential part of our culture, and we intend to be more ambitious than ever pointing the way forward.”
Cohn joined The Atlantic in 2009 as editor of Atlantic Digital and in 2013 was named co-president and chief operating officer. He began his career at Newsweek, where he covered the Supreme Court, the Justice Department and the White House. He went on to Wired, where he served as executive editor for eight years before joining The Atlantic.
2016 marks the largest year of investment and growth for the company, continuing the momentum of records in 2015. TheAtlantic.com broke three consecutive audience records at the close of 2015 and had 50 percent YOY digital growth, reaching a high of more than 31.5 million unique monthly visitors. The Atlantic also increased its staff by 50 percent in 2015, and has similar hiring plans this year. Earlier this year, The Atlantic embarked on a multi-platform expansion of its coverage of Washington politics and policy, focused on offering a distinctively sophisticated understanding of power and ideas in the U.S. capital. As part of this ambitious effort, The Atlantic is tripling its Washington reporting team and growing its events and business staffs. Last week The Atlantic published “The Obama Doctrine,” a cover story based on hours of extensive and unusually candid interviews with President Obama, in which the president explains his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.