Eric Hippeau, managing partner of venture capital firm SoftBank Capital, has been named CEO of The Huffington Post. Hippeau, a HuffPo board member, is taking over for Betsy Morgan, who joined the online pub in October 2007 from CBSNews.com. She is leaving the company and vacating her spot on the board, the company said.
Hippeau was formerly the CEO of Ziff-Davis, where he led the company’s online initiatives including growing the ZDnet brand. SoftBank acquired Ziff-Davis in 1995 and Hippeau stayed in his role until 2000 when the company was sold. At SoftBank, he helped secure Series-A financing for the HuffPo in 2006, becoming an early investor.
Under Morgan’s leadership, the Huffington Post has grown rapidly and co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer had nothing but good things to say about her.
Update: Huffington spoke to FishbowlNY and told us that the decision to appoint Hippeau was not a last minute move for the company, but rather something that had been in the works for awhile.
“Betsy has been a great CEO, and we owe our recent successes to her leadership — our six-fold increase in traffic, the doubling of our ad revenue,” Huffington said. “But we want to explore all the possibilities for expansion and for acquisitions, and we need the additional firepower of someone with Eric’s experience.”
Although Hippeau has been working closely with the Huffington Post for several years — thanks to his position on the small, four-person board — Huffington said she never thought he would “want to leave the life of a venture capitalist and join us in a full time role.” And, because he has been working with the company for quite some time, he can “hit the road running,” Huffington said. “He doesn’t have a learning curve.”
Full release after the jump
Earlier: New CEO For HuffPo