Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law, will step down as publisher of New York media publication the Observer now that he has accepted a job in Trump’s administration.
Kushner will “no longer have an ownership stake” in the Observer business or play any role in its affairs, the company said.
It’s not clear to what extent the 35-year-old Kushner will divest himself financially from the business, with CNN reporting that the stake will go into a family trust.
Kushner will be a senior adviser to Trump, focusing on domestic and foreign policy, particularly on issues related to the Middle East and international trade.
Kushner, whose fortune lies in his family’s real-estate business, will also step down as the CEO of Kushner Companies. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner, will also step down from her executive position in the Trump Organisation, but will take no formal role in the administration.
Kushner bought the iconic New York newspaper in 2006 for $10 million, when it was called the New York Observer and still had a print edition (discontinued in November). Since buying the Observer, which insiders say gave him a voice in New York society, Kushner has tried several strategies to turn it into a modern national media company, and make it the center of a mini media empire. His moves as the Observer’s publisher have brought both praise and criticism.
“He bought absolutely, positively, a dying publication in the Observer,” a former top employee recently told Business Insider. “It was a cultural icon, but it was also within hours of becoming a cultural relic. So when you change something, everyone gets upset, and Jared changed it because what it was couldn’t possibly continue to exist financially.” (For a full rundown of Kushner’s quest to become a media mogul, see our feature on the subject).
Recently, rumours had been floating around New York media circles that Kushner had been trying to quietly sell the Observer. But though Kushner will no longer have a stake in the Observer, it doesn’t seem that he has found a buyer. CNN’s Dylan Byer’s reported that Kushner’s lawyers indicated that, “It is going to the family trust.”
Joseph Meyer, Kushner’s brother-in-law who has been the president of Observer Media Group since 2013, will serve as publisher.
Here is the memo that Meyer sent to the Observer staff, which the company provided to Business Insider:
As you’ve certainly been reading, our publisher Jared Kushner, has taken an official role in the incoming administration.
I will be taking over as Observer publisher and Jared will no longer have an ownership stake in the Observer. He has also resigned from our editorial board and will play no role in the publication’s affairs going forward.
Jared has been a dedicated and passionate publisher. I know you join me and everyone at Observer in thanking him for his years of service to this beloved institution and wishing him nothing but the best as he meets challenges ahead.
Observer has just finished an amazing year of growth and development. I could not be more excited to face the coming year together with you all.
Chairman & CEO
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