Politico Names Goli Sheikholeslami Its New CEO

From a Washingtonian story by Andrew Beaujon headlined “Politico Names New CEO”:

Goli Sheikholeslami is the new CEO of Politico Media Group, Axel Springer executive Jan Bayer announced to staff in a memo Monday. Sheikholeslami replaces Patrick Steel, who stepped down as CEO last May. Sheikholeslami’s appointment is the first major personnel move under Axel Springer, which purchased Politico last year. She’ll oversee the Rosslyn-based news organization’s flagship political publication as well as Protocol, the tech publication Politico honcho Robert Allbritton founded in 2019. She’ll also be the chairperson of the board at Politico Europe, which Politico formed as a joint venture with Axel Springer in 2015 and which has a separate CEO, Claire Boussagol.

Sheikholeslami was most recently president and CEO of New York Public Radio and her résumé includes stints at Chicago Public Media, the Washington Post, and Time Warner, among other companies. Axel Springer hopes to “more than double” Politico and Protocol’s revenue in the coming years, Bayer writes in the memo, which twice says Sheikholeslami is the person the German company believes can take the company to the “next level.” Axel Springer plans to institute a “one POLITICO” culture, Bayer writes.

Allbritton and Duncan Evans, the CEO of Allbritton’s private investment firm Perpetual Capital, will step down from the management duties that they assumed after Steel left and will continue to advise Axel Springer, Bayer writes. Sheikholeslami will start at Politico Media Group in February.

The Politico memo:

Dear all,

A very Happy New Year to you!

We closed 2021 with the promise of starting a new chapter at POLITICO. Our vision is to build the global news and information leader on politics, policy and regulation in power centers across the world, and we are aiming to more than double the revenue of POLITICO and Protocol in the next years. Today, I am delighted to be able to share with you that we have found the right person to lead us on this journey.

Goli Sheikholeslami will be the new CEO of POLITICO Media Group. Her appointment comes after a vigorous national search in which we looked for a leader who will take POLITICO to the next level, examining dozens of profiles and candidates. We are positive that we have found exactly the right fit. With her vast experience and aspiration, Goli was by far our top choice for the role and we are thrilled to welcome her. She will begin in her new role in February.

Goli has extensive and diverse media experience spanning documentary film, news, classifieds, digital media, radio/audio. In addition, she has a proven track record of further developing and transforming media business models. She will bring many qualities that will help take us to the next level: She is a strong leader, has led large organizations, and is experienced in hiring top talent. She has worked for Time Warner, Condé Nast, Washington Post (as GM Digital), Everyday Health, Chicago Public Radio and most recently as CEO at NY Public Radio. She serves on the Board of Patreon, the membership platform for artists and creators, and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the National Public Radio (NPR).

In her new role as CEO of POLITICO Media Group, Goli will also be responsible for Protocol, working closely together with Protocol’s President Bennett Richardson. Part of our growth strategy in the U.S. is prioritizing a “one POLITICO” culture across all teams—newsroom, business, and shared services—built on a foundation of empowerment, support and workplace diversity. POLITICO Europe has a very strong on-the-ground leadership in Brussels provided by CEO Claire Boussagol. We will foster cooperation between POLITICO in the U.S. and POLITICO Europe and will expand the Shareholder Advisory Board of POLITICO Europe to include Goli as the Chairperson.

I would like to express my thanks to Robert Albritton [sic] and Duncan Evans, whose responsibilities have been twofold over the last months: They have acted as managers in the absence of a CEO and as advisors to Axel Springer. With Goli coming in, both will step down from their management functions, but keep their advisory roles. I am very grateful to both Robert and Duncan for ensuring that the transition has worked so smoothly and for offering to support Goli during her onboarding.

I am sure the terrific team that you are will soar to new heights under Goli’s leadership and I am very excited to work together with you on this. We will be holding a virtual Townhall today at 10:30am ET / 4:30pm CET (invitations will follow shortly) so you can meet Goli (at least virtually) and ask any questions you might have. Since nearly a thousand people may join, we encourage you to email questions to mailto:[email protected]politico.com so that we can provide answers during the call. That inbox is open now and will remain open through the call itself, same as our last all-hands call.

Thank you for your ongoing dedication and enthusiasm. Here’s to a very successful new year!

All the best,

Also see the Washington Post story by Sarah Ellison headlined “Goli Sheikholeslami named Politico CEO by new owner Axel Springer.”  The opening grafs:

Axel Springer has tapped Goli Sheikholeslami to be the next CEO of Politico Media — the first major move the German media giant is making at Politico since its purchase last year of the Arlington, Va.-based news organization for roughly $1 billion.

Sheikholeslami joins Politico at a moment when its new owner has made explicit its ambitions for an amped-up presence in the United States and a desire to increase its pace of acquisitions. Axel Springer previously purchased Business Insider in 2015, which it has renamed Insider. The company also purchased a majority stake in the newsletter company Morning Brew.

Axel Springer is a Berlin-based media company that boasts a presence in more than 40 countries through brands such as Bild, Welt, Insider and now Politico. The company employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.

Sheikholeslami said her focus will be to take the 15-year-old company — which she called “a disruptive start-up that has excelled as it has grown” — into an “expansion phase” and move into new markets, even as Axel Springer has signaled its plans to invest more in Politico’s core U.S. and European operations, as well as those of the much newer tech-focused site Protocol.

Sheikholeslami is wrapping up a two-year tenure as the president and CEO of WNYC, New York’s flagship public radio operation. Before that, she was CEO of Chicago Public Media and held senior positions at The Washington Post, Condé Nast and Time Warner….

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