Atlantic Media President Justin Smith is moving to Bloomberg Media to be its Chief Executive Officer. The announcement came Sunday night in a memo to staff. Rather than appoint a new successor, they will continue without “independent” of any reporting structure. He was with the company for six years. In a seriously lengthy and thoughtful farewell note, Publisher David Bradley, amid a plethora of compliments, compares him to Mary Poppins.
From David Bradley’s memo to staff sent tonight, July 28:
“Justin led The Atlantic for two years and then Atlantic Media for an additional four. In one sense, my time with Justin reminds me of the time I spent with the Atlantic’s late editor, Michael Kelly—the everyday, dialed-up to intensity. After six years, and speechless, any of us might ask, “Wow, what was that about?”
“In my frame, Atlantic Media was earning its doctoral degree in modern media from one of modern media’s master practitioners. What Justin believed, he taught, and, as with Michael again, Justin’s beliefs were fierce: That the revolution underway in media is more radical than we—the industry—appreciate. That the contest between legacy and insurgent players is mortal, with advantage to the insurgents. That surviving legacy properties will have had to learn the disciplines of the insurgents—and that they can. That velocity is first among the virtues. That the speed of change is unprecedented. That ideas have their season but not more. From search to social media to native advertising to the next advantage. And, that Atlantic Media could and would and has leapt to the frontier.
“…Justin will leave us a changed—and much better—media company. That begins with his—and now my—Atlantic Media leadership team. Scott, Bruce, Tim, Jean Ellen, Kat, Zazie, Michael, Tom, Emily. As with Justin, I have complete confidence in this group. More generally, and as to “extreme talent” across the board, I think Atlantic Media is at its record high-water mark. After reflection, I’ve decided that, rather than appoint a Justin successor, we will let the current leadership continue independent of any reporting structure—save to me—and grow to fill the empty spaces Justin’s departure leaves behind. In fact, I found this an easy call.”
See the full version of the deeply emotional memo of appreciation… Read more