In another sign of rapid turnover among its executive ranks, The Daily Beast is losing Chief Executive Officcer Rhona Murphy.
Murphy announced she was stepping down in an internal memo obtained by TheWrap. The CEO said she plans to return to her native Ireland to live full-time. Her replacement was not immediately announced, although Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon and chief digital officer Mike Dyer are expected to take the reins and add the new titles of managing directors of the website.
Murphy also revealed she had hired Sarah Chubb to be senior advisor at the Beast.
The Daily Beast continues to work towards regaining its footing after Tina Brown left the publication in January. It has recently experienced a series of high level departures since last year including columnists Howard Kurtz and Andrew Sullivan. The site has made several high profile hires of late, including former Politico congressional reporter Tim Mak and former Anthony Weiner intern Olivia Nuzzi who was hired as a political reporter.
The site is averaging 17M+ uniques this year, up from about 13.5M uniques over the same time last year, according to the Daily Beast.
Avlon tweeted that he was excited about the site’s future with the hiring of Chubb.
— John Avlon (@JohnAvlon) June 5, 2014
Read Murphy’s memo to Daily Beast staff below:
As some of you know, my daughter is starting school in September and we will be returning to live in Dublin full-time. Therefore, over the summer months I will be transitioning leadership of the company to a new team.
I am delighted to announce that our Editor-in-Chief, John Avlon and our Chief Digital Officer and Creative Director, Mike Dyer, will, in addition to their current roles, become Managing Directors of the company. Together with Sarah Chubb, who is joining as Senior Advisor, they will be responsible for the continued growth and success of The Daily Beast.
The Beast is having a stellar year and Mike and John are two of the biggest reasons why. Under their leadership, all editorial and digital capabilities have been completely revamped, and we are consistently producing great work, whether it’s scoops from our national security team or product innovations like the Read This List and our entirely new, soon-to-launch mobile app. As you know, we are seeing significant traffic and performance increases across the board – rising from an average of 13.5 million unique visitors per month in 2013 to over 17 million this year – and I expect this growth to continue under their leadership.
On the revenue side, the content marketing approach Mike and his team designed is working as planned: more than half of 2014 advertisers are new to The Beast, and the majority have come for our progressive approach to native. As a result, we are poised to have a record summer with some of the largest advertising campaigns in the company’s history. Kudos to our publisher, Ben Zagorski, who has built a very capable sales team, and to Mike’s brand strategy team, without whom we would not be able to create and build the content programs that clients demand.
Our new Senior Advisor, Sarah Chubb, is a proven media executive with over 25 years of experience building strong and profitable businesses. She was an early pioneer in the digital media space, and was President of Conde Nast digital for 15 years and then EVP/Media Strategy at the Gilt Groupe. She has been honored with numerous industry awards by helping create diverse, award-winning products with multiple revenue streams. Her role as Senior Advisor will be to work with the management team to continue to make The Daily Beast a leading digital news brand on an accelerated path to profitability.
I would like to thank all of you for your support and hard work over the past year; we have come a long way and it is truly a team effort. I have complete confidence in the future of The Daily Beast and will remain your most avid Irish reader.
Please join me in welcoming Sarah and in congratulating John and Mike on their well deserved promotions.