World-renowned entrepreneur Arianna Huffington has stepped down as the editor-of-chief at The Huffington Post as she embarks on the next major phase of her career journey.
“I step down as editor-in-chief filled with gratitude for our amazing HuffPost team and for what we’ve built together, and for Tim Armstrong who had the vision to buy HuffPost five years ago and to support from day one our global expansion,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
Huffington will now head the growth of her new company Thrive Global, which recently closed a major investment round for an undisclosed amount, and is driving forward on its mission to change the way people work, fight burnout, and improve health and productivity.
The company will provide training, seminars and ongoing support via its platform.
But this mission has come from a monumental career that has led Huffington to realise a global problem the business world is dealing with: stress and exhaustion.
These are the milestones that led Huffington to Thrive Global.
Building the Huffington Post
After setting up the Huffington Post in 2005, Huffington worked rapidly to build it into one of North America’s largest digital media publications.
Just six years went by before AOL Inc. acquired it for $US315 million.
Huffington stayed with the organisation and continued to grow it.
And shortly after, Huffington had won a Pulitzer Prize, was named in Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and Forbes listed her among the most powerful women.
“The journey of the last eleven years has exceeded my wildest expectations,” Huffington said.
“I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished and very confident about HuffPost’s future with the strongest leadership team we’ve ever had and the full support of AOL and Verizon. And of course, HuffPost will always be part of me, and I’ll always be here to help in every way possible as it continues to reach new heights.”
The reality of burnout
In the midst of her success and race for global domination, Huffington received a wake-up call.
Everything came to a halt, when her body gave way and she simply collapsed; Huffington was diagnosed with burnout.
From that experience, the high-achieving entrepreneur went on a mission to spread awareness about the “global pandemic” of stress and burnout.
She says it costs businesses $US300 billion ($AUD3.9 billion) a year in the US alone, even though research shows there is no “trade-off” between high performance and living a well-rounded life.
In her books Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, Huffington stresses the importance of striking the right work-life balance by prioritising health and well-being.
It’s a lesson she has to remind herself of even today, and one that has motivated her decision to step down from The Huffington Post.
“Since publishing Thrive and then The Sleep Revolution, I’ve dreamt of taking the next big step to help transform the way we work and live,” Huffington said.
“When I decided to create Thrive Global, I thought it would be possible to build a startup and continue as editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
“Today, it’s clear that was an illusion. As Thrive Global moved from an idea to a reality, with investors, staff, and offices, it became clear to me that I simply couldn’t do justice to both companies.”
Starting a new chapter
By dropping her workload, Huffington is setting an example for entrepreneurs and aspiring business leaders around the world.
Building something from scratch doesn’t get easier just because you’ve done it before. There is only 1 way to do it: w/ your full attention.
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) August 11, 2016
“Change is desperately needed if another generation is to avoid the burnout that all too often comes with success today,” she said.
“That’s why I’m filled with excitement at the prospect of devoting the rest of my life to accelerating the culture shift away from merely surviving and succeeding to thriving.
“Running both companies would have involved working around the clock, which would be a betrayal of the very principles of Thrive I’ve been writing and speaking about.
“To truly thrive means knowing when the time has come to close one chapter and start the next, and for me that time has arrived.”