Fareed Zakaria, arguably the biggest name on Newsweek‘s masthead, has decided to leave the magazine at the end of September, Business Insider has learned. The news was announced to the magazine’s sales team yesterday, a source told us.
Newsweek did not immediately return calls and emails for comment.
UPDATE 1 – Michael Calderone confirmed the news with a second source over at The Upshot.
We hear that CNN plans to build a bigger franchise around Zakaria, who hosts the hour-long foreign affairs program “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” CNN also did not immediately return a call and email for comment.
UPDATE 2 – Zakaria will also be writing a bi-weekly column for Newsweek competitor Time, The New York Times’ David Carr adds. Time and CNN are both under the Time Warner umbrella.
A few weeks ago, Zakaria was being floated as a potential replacement for outgoing Newsweek editor-in-chief Jon Meacham, who resigned after The Washington Post Co. announced it was selling the magazine to former stereo equipment mogul Sidney Harman. Zakaria was said to have told Harman he wasn’t interested.
Zakaria is the latest high-profile Newsweek departure, following veteran journalist Evan Thomas, who also recently announced he was leaving, and a slew of others who have jumped ship since the magazine was put on the block.
We also hear Harman has said he will give four months severance pay to anyone who is let go, and that a number of staffers have already raised their hands volunteering for that deal. Harman’s bid was said to be the winning one in part because his proposal would keep “the majority” of the staff intact.
UPDATE 3 – Time followed up TBI’s, The Upshot’s and the NYT’s reporting with an official announcement late Wednesday afternoon.
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