Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of tech magazine Wired, will be taking over as The Atlantic’s chief executive early next year, the magazine said Thursday.
Atlantic owners Laurene Powell Jobs and David Bradley announced the decision in a message to staff, calling it “a significant appointment for our 163-year-old magazine.”
“It is also a consequential turn in Nick’s career,” they continued. “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.”
While it is somewhat unusual for journalists to move into business roles at publications, Powell Jobs and Bradley wrote that “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 added.
Thompson, who served as Wired’s editor-in-chief for four years, confirmed the news on Twitter Thursday afternoon, writing that his upcoming move “is an extraordinary opportunity to work to build, and expand, the business of one of the most important publications in America.”
I’ve read and been inspired by The Atlantic my whole life – especially through the brilliant run they’ve had recently. This is an extraordinary opportunity to work to build, and expand, the business of one of the most important publications in America. (2/7)
— nxthompson (@nxthompson) December 3, 2020
Thompson will officially move into the Atlantic’s CEO role in February.
Thompson, 45, has spent 15 years as a writer and editor for publications at Wired’s parent company, Condé Nast, including at The New Yorker, where he was the top digital editor from 2012 to 2017.
The Atlantic began its search to fill the top role last fall after its former president, Bob Cohn, left the publication. According to The New York Times, the Atlantic enlisted the help of two search firms and reviewed applications from hundreds of candidates.
Both Thompson and The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, will report directly to the publication’s board of directors.
“Nick is one of the great innovators in journalism,” Goldberg said in a statement to the Times, “and I have enormous confidence that he will guide this company to a new era of subscription and reader growth, technological creativity and business success.”