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Photo: GMG, Jessica Murphy

Upworthy’s parent company Good Media Group (GMG) is bringing in a new CEO and editor-in-chief to hone the company’s strategic vision of promoting social good, a year after the brand merged with its consulting arm, GOOD Corp.

Why it matters: The combined company sees a business opportunity in the fact that consumers, particularly its core audience of millennials, are more highly engaged in news about social causes — and increasingly looking to brands to take a stand on social issues. The new leaders have been brought on board specifically to execute that vision.

Charlie Wilkie has been appointed CEO. Wilkie, who has been with the company since 2016 and previously served as Chief Revenue Officer, says now is the perfect time to be pushing the business to experiment with new products and strategies. Under Wilkie’s leadership, the company has been able to secure partnerships with several national brands like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Johnson & Johnson, and L'Oréal.

  • "Given the landscape right now, this is the right time to launch a new phase and period of growth for the company." Wilkie says. He points to Good Media Company's mission and audience of loyal, affluent millennials as an opportunity to create editorial and business products that will take hold in the market.
  • “Upworthy and GOOD are pioneers in progress," he added.

Liz Heron has been tapped as the company's new Editor-in-Chief. She is a veteran digital journalist with a background that spans both editorial and industry roles. Previously, she was former Head of News Partnerships at Facebook and an editor at The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

  • "I wanted to be a part of a company that makes social good a priority," she says. Wilkie says Heron's background working both on the editorial sides of a media company and the business side of a tech company makes her uniquely positioned to carry out the company's vision in an innovative way.

GMG is also announcing three new board members: Gaby Darbyshire, formerly the COO of Gawker; Ronda Carnegie, formerly the Head of Global Partnerships/Strategic Initiatives at TED; and Michelle Kydd Lee, formerly the Chief Innovation Officer of Creative Arts Agency (CAA).

What's next: By the second half of this year, the company is hoping to launch a full-fledged social impact program that builds on its commitment to creating positive change. It's also experimenting with new ways of storytelling — driven by Heron — that sharpen the editorial vision for both media brands and ​explore innovative ways to increase audience loyalty.

Go deeper

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

2 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).