The chief executive and chief operating officer of Elite Daily, the millennial news and lifestyle website acquired by The Daily Mail for $40 million to $50 million in cash last year, are leaving the company, Business Insider can reveal.
David Arabov, CEO and editorial director, and Jonathon Francis, chief operating officer, announced the news to staff on Wednesday morning. They will leave the company on March 31.
The departures were planned as part of the acquisition.
The two will be succeeded by The Daily Mail’s VP of content David Moss, who will look after the editorial side of the business, while the company’s VP of product, technology, and insights Nicole Goksel will oversee operations. Miguel Burger-Calderon will continue as Elite Daily’s president, responsible for advertising sales and strategy.
Arabov said in a statement:
When we sold Elite Daily to dmg::media in January 2015, we wanted to ensure the company was in good hands and positioned for global success as a leading media company for millennials.
Over the past 14 months, dmg::media has exceeded our expectations and invested significantly in our editorial team and commercial operation to ensure Elite Daily will always offer millennials an online experience that is peerless and ensures advertisers connect with this savvy consumer base.
Jonathon and I now feel the time is right for us to step down and entrust it to new leaders who will continue to make Elite Daily the go to website for millennials across the globe.
In a statement, Daily Mail owner DMG Media CEO Kevin Beatty said:
Under David and Jonathon’s leadership, Elite Daily has become the second largest millennial website in the United States among its direct competitors, and fifth in overall audience.
They established a brand that has resonated with millennials across the globe and dmg::media will continue their legacy to ensure that the site continues as the voice of Generation Y.
I would like to thank them both for their significant contribution and service and wish them well as they move on to new opportunities.”
Elite Daily had an audience of 24.5 million unique visitors in February, according to comScore. The company largely grew its audience through Facebook but saw a dramatic 38% drop in traffic in 2015 as the social network switched its algorithm’s focus to video, Digiday reported, citing comScore figures. Digiday reported that Elite Daily has expanded its video team from seven to 35 in the past year and the latest comScore figures appear to show that its traffic has since stabilised.
The company, founded in 2012 by Pace University undergrads Arabov, Francis, and their friend Gerard Adams, had raised around $2.1 million in funding prior to its acquisition by The Daily Mail. In 2014, the company generated around $7 million in profit, thanks to its heavy leaning on programmatic advertising rather than relying on a large sales team, a source told Business Insider last year.
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