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Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

Nicholas Thompson, the longtime editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, was named CEO of The Atlantic on Thursday.

Why it matters: The Atlantic had reportedly spoken to more than 100 candidates for the job, which has been vacant since the company's former president Bob Cohn left in 2019.

Details: Thompson announced the move on Twitter ahead of an official announcement from Conde Nast, Wired's parent company, or The Atlantic.

  • The magazine's owners Laurene Powell Jobs and David Bradley said in a joint statement shortly after Thomson's tweet: "Nick is singular; we've seen no one like him."
  • Thompson will work from The Atlantic’s New York office. The company will continue to have a significant presence in Washington, D.C.

Be smart: For Thompson, the role moves him from editorial leader to business figurehead. His experience as a top editor at both Wired and The New Yorker — another magazine owned by Conde Nast — undoubtedly helped prepare him for the latest shift.

  • Both companies have introduced subscription models in the past few years. Thompson's editorial guidance has been a huge part of Wired's shift to a more direct-to-consumer business model.
  • "Nick is making the decision to move from the editorial side of media to the business side. Likely, Nick’s pivot sets him on a new career course," Powell Jobs and Bradley wrote.

The big picture: The Atlantic has pushed over the past two years to introduce a membership model, on top of its live events and advertising businesses. But the company, like many others in the media industry, has struggled amid the pandemic.

  • In the statement, The Atlantic said that Thompson will lead the company's business strategy, "working with the teams overseeing corporate services; advertising; and product, engineering, and growth."

What to watch: The Atlantic also used the announcement to break a little bit of its own news...

  • The Atlantic has now surpassed 700,000 total subscribers — gaining more than 400,000 since the launch of its paywall 14 months ago. The company says its goal is to reach 1 million subscribers by the end of 2022.
  • It also said that Michelle Ebanks, the former CEO of Essence Communications, will join The Atlantic’s Board as its first fully outside director. The board is chaired by Powell Jobs. Both Thompson and The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, will report directly to the board. 

Editor's note: Laurene Powell Jobs is an investor in Axios.

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The Fed's last word on 2020

Jerome Powell. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell holds his final news conference of the year Wednesday — and Congress may get an earful.

What we’re hearing: Powell is likely to plead with Congress to pass more fiscal support for an economy riven by a global pandemic, and to suggest there are limits to what the Fed can do with monetary policy.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
55 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.