Washington, D.C. (August 29, 2018)—The Atlantic’s president Bob Cohn announced today that Alex Hardiman, currently the head of news products at Facebook, will be The Atlantic’s chief business and product officer. In this role, Hardiman will guide audience experience and product strategy across The Atlantic’s platforms; lead the product, engineering, data, and growth teams; and shape The Atlantic’s ongoing initiatives on digital consumer revenue. She joins The Atlantic this fall and will work out of its New York and Washington offices.
“As The Atlantic continues to grow, Alex will bring extraordinary innovation and creativity to our businesses,” said Cohn. “Her leadership positions at both Facebook and The New York Times give her an unrivaled perspective on digital media, and her audience-first focus will sharpen the appeal of our work. All this will serve us extremely well as we aggressively expand our ambitions for 2019 and beyond.”
“The Atlantic has never been more vital than it is right now. In this moment of growth and transformation, I'm thrilled—and humbled—by the opportunity to partner with brilliant minds to ensure that as many people as possible experience its products and perspectives,” said Hardiman.
Hardiman’s hire comes at a pivotal point in The Atlantic’s expansion, already underway, which will see the company add 100 new staff and investments across its divisions and platforms. The ranks that will report to Hardiman—in product, engineering, data, audience development, and consumer marketing—have doubled in number this past year. These functions were previously led by Kim Lau as SVP of Digital, who over the last six years has built The Atlantic’s digital capabilities across desktop, mobile, tablet, video, and audio. This summer, Lau moved to a new role as EVP of strategy and operations.
As chief business and product officer, Hardiman will be dedicated to elevating the user experience on desktop and mobile, newsletters, podcasts, video, apps, virtual reality, and smart speakers. She will also continue to shape and expand The Atlantic’s digital consumer business. Last fall, The Atlantic launched a premium membership, The Masthead, and has been building capabilities in data, consumer marketing, and engineering in order to put new energy behind a strategy for paid readership of digital content.
Hardiman joined Facebook two years ago after spending ten years at The New York Times. At Facebook, she led the Pages product team in New York before being tapped last year to lead the product and engineering teams for news, overseeing the news experiences for all Facebook users—including the expansion of Facebook’s subscriptions product for news organizations. She has also been a key liaison with news organizations as part of The Facebook Journalism Project.
While at The New York Times, Hardiman held a variety of senior roles in product management, product marketing, and sales development. Most recently, she was the newspaper’s vice president of news products, leading the strategy and product for nytimes.com, its smartphone and tablet products, and third-party distribution platforms.
The Atlantic’s company-wide expansion is touching all aspects of the business, with the largest infusion taking place in the newsroom. The Atlantic recently established a bureau in San Francisco as a base for a growing reporting team and coverage dedicated to technology. In addition to the San Francisco bureau, The Atlantic will grow its coverage of Hollywood and culture, and is setting out to double its teams covering politics and national affairs. Earlier this year, The Atlantic debuted a new Family section.
Full Note to The Atlantic Staff from President Bob Cohn
Three months ago, I wrote you all to say that we were starting an important search for a digital executive to focus on product strategy, user experience, and platform growth. I am happy to report that our search has led us to an outstanding leader. In late October, Alex Hardiman will join us in a new role as Chief Business and Product Officer. She'll be working out of the New York and Washington offices, and reporting to me.
Alex brings an ideal set of experiences to the job. She comes to us from Facebook, where for a few more weeks she is the company's head of news products. This means she's been responsible for crafting a news strategy for Facebook that serves both publishers and readers. As CNET wrote in a story about Alex and her team just last week, "Under Hardiman's direction, the news products team tries to be genuine advocates for journalists inside Facebook."
Prior to joining Facebook, Alex worked for a decade in key product roles at the New York Times. For many years she focused on building out the Times's mobile capabilities before becoming VP of News Products, where she led strategy and product for NYTimes.com, its smartphone and tablet products, and third-party distribution platforms.
If, like me, you have marveled at the Times's transformation to first digital and then mobile delivery, you have Alex, in great part, to thank.
At The Atlantic, Alex will oversee the product and engineering teams as well as the growth cluster – data, audience development, and consumer marketing. She'll play a leading role in further developing our reader revenue strategy, and she'll be working closely with Jeff Goldberg and Hayley Romer to build products in support of both edit and sales. It's a broad job, but I think it strips down to this: Alex will lead teams responsible for creating a superior user experience that serves both our audiences and our businesses, and for driving product innovation across the company.
In all of these areas, Alex will be building on the excellent work of our product and growth groups under the leadership of Kim Lau. When I announced this search was on, I noted that Kim would soon be transitioning into an important new position as EVP of Strategy and Operations. I look forward to welcoming her to that role, where she'll work closely with me and the rest of the management team on projects to ensure our continued growth and success.
As for Alex, there is journalism in her blood. A news junkie who did a fellowship at Columbia Journalism School’s Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program (and, before that, graduated from Columbia University), she traces her interest in media to her great grandmother, who was a radio and television pioneer, and her grandfather, who was a broadcast journalist covering civil rights. Her passion and experience will be a big asset as we, with support and encouragement from Emerson Collective, seek to make The Atlantic an even more indispensable part of our readers' lives.