The Atlantic announced that Nicholas Thompson, the editor in chief of Wired, will become its CEO in the new year. Thompson will begin as CEO in February 2021.
In their announcement to The Atlantic’s staff, owners Laurene Powell Jobs and David Bradley wrote: “Nick is singular; we've seen no one like him. As to leading and supporting Atlantic strategy, Nick brings a surround-sound coverage of relevant experience. Having been an editor, he is committed to the undergirding tenets of our work––superior editorial standards and complete editorial independence.” They continued: “While this is a significant appointment for our 163-year-old magazine, it is also a consequential turn in Nick's career. Nick is making the decision to move from the editorial side of media to the business side. Likely, Nick’s pivot sets him on a new career course. The Atlantic has been here before, enjoying success in making business stars out of editorial leaders; we have confidence that, in Nick, this will be done again.”
Powell Jobs and Bradley also announced a formalization and expansion of The Atlantic’s board of directors and changes to their respective leadership roles. Michelle Ebanks, the former CEO of Essence Communications, will join the board as the first fully outside director. One or two additional directors will be added in the coming year. Powell Jobs, the president of Emerson Collective, will become chair of the board in January 2021, and Peter Lattman, managing director of media at Emerson, will continue as a director. Bradley will become chairman emeritus, and remain minority owner of the company, as he steps back from day-to-day management. Both Thompson and The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, will report directly to the board.
As CEO, Thompson will lead The Atlantic’s business strategy, working with the teams overseeing corporate services; advertising; and product, engineering, and growth. This year, The Atlantic has broadened and deepened its client partnerships and is on track to equal last year’s advertising revenue despite the challenges of the pandemic. Thompson will also drive The Atlantic's accelerated pursuit of digital subscriptions and consumer revenue. The Atlantic has now surpassed 700,000 total subscribers––gaining more than 400,000 subscribers since the launch of its paywall 14 months ago––with a goal of reaching 1 million subscribers by the end of 2022. Thompson will work from The Atlantic’s New York office, and the company will continue to have a significant presence in Washington, D.C., and New York City.