Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, is leaving the company, The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday.
Huffington plans to focus on a new startup called Thrive Global, which will launch in November and focus on health, productivity, and wellness issues.
The company shares the name of her book “Thrive” and will offer workshops, online courses, and other ways it hopes will help companies improve the well-being of their employees. It has already begun testing its services with the professional services company Accenture, according to a press release sent out by the company on Thursday.
Thrive Global secured series A funding last week. A source close to the company told Business Insider it was a $7 million round that valued Thrive Global at $33 million.
The investment convinced Huffington she could not remain at the media company she cofounded 11 years ago.
She told The Journal: “I really thought I could do both, but as we started building it up, I realised that it really needed my full attention. It is important to know when one door closes and another opens and I felt that moment had arrived.”
Huffington ended up signing a four-year deal in June to stay on as chair, president, and editor-in-chief at the Verizon-owned content business.
She told The Journal there had been discussions for her to continue in a different role at The Huffington Post when Thrive Global launches later this year, but she said it wasn’t an option.
Huffington said: “I have been running Huffington Post for 11 years and I couldn’t imagine having another relationship with it.”
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement that the company intended to partner with Thrive Global in the future.
The full statement reads:
“Arianna is a visionary who built The Huffington Post into a truly transformative news platform. Today, The Huffington Post is a firmly established and celebrated news source and AOL and Verizon are committed to continuing its growth and the groundbreaking work Arianna pioneered. We are confident that our strong editorial leadership team will maintain the exacting standards and high-quality journalism of our Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom. The Huffington Post draws more than 178 million people worldwide on a daily basis and continues to distinguish itself with groundbreaking reporting and analysis. We remain committed to our mission of making The Huffington Post the most influential and innovative news company in the world.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Arianna on Thrive Global and are grateful for what she has done in creating such an iconic brand.”
Thrive Global’s series A round was led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, the venture fund created by Huffington Post cofounder Ken Lerer, former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau, and Thrillist Media CEO Ben Lerer.
Other participants in the round include: Blue Pool Capital, Greycroft Partners, Advancit Capital, Female Founders Fund, Zoë Baird, Nicolas Berggruen, Joanna Coles, Ray Dalio, Mohamed El-Erian, Nick Green, Gunnar Lovelace, Fred Harman, Isabella Huffington, Andre Iguodala, and Sean Parker.
Arianna Huffington: A timeline
1950: Born in Athens, Greece
1966: Moves to the UK and later studies economics at Cambridge, where she became the president of the university’s Cambridge Union Society debate club.
1973: Writes the “Female Woman” book, which attacks Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch.”
1979: Cohosts BBC1’s late-night talk show “Saturday Night at the Mill” for 12 episodes.
1980: Moves to the US. Publishes several articles for the National Review and writes two biographies, one of Maria Callas and another about Pablo Picasso.
1985: Marries Michael Huffington and helps support his campaign for a seat in the US Senate. He lost the race to the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein.
1996: Reports on the presidential election for Comedy Central.
1997: Arianna and Michael Huffington divorce.
2003: Bids, unsuccessfully, for the governorship of California.
2005: Cofounds The Huffington Post with Ken Lerer and Jonah Peretti.
2007: Writes her eleventh book, “On Becoming Fearless … In Love, Work, and Life.”
2011: AOL acquires The Huffington Post for $315 million.
2014: Writes international best-seller “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Wellbeing, Wisdom, and Wonder.”
2015: Verizon acquires AOL for $4.4 billion. Huffington signs a four-year deal to stay on as chair, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
2016: Publishes “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.”
2016: Huffington announces the launch of Thrive Global, a wellness company.
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