Politico CEO Jim VandeHei and publisher Robert Allbritton’s “bromance” may have ended when the duo battled over control and credit.
The Washington Post reported late Sunday that the blowup was “long on the boil” and that VandeHei “contemplated quitting three years ago.”
VandeHei reconsidered and stayed but “never resolved his differences” with Allbritton, according to the Post, which wrote:
The publisher-owner who had his own ideas about how to expand the Politico brand. One point of strategic contention, according to intimates: Allbritton conceived and championed Politico’s expansion into Europe two years ago, a project that VandeHei had criticized as quixotic and beyond Politico’s core strength in U.S. political and Washington policymaking coverage.
Everyone assumed something crazy went down when news broke last Thursday that VandeHei was leaving the company he helped turn into a political content powerhouse. But in a memo confirming his exit, VandeHei tried to squash those rumors by saying he simply “caught the entrepreneurial bug” and planned to start a new venture.
The Post reported there is much more to this story than Politico execs want the public to think. The story goes on to illustrate the “elements of competition” between Allbritton and VendeHei, including clashes over key management decisions and who received the credit for Politico’s success.