Alan Murray: Fortune ‘feels like a calling’

Murray in 2008, when he was an executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Murray in 2008, when he was an executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In a memo to Pew Research Center staffers this morning, President Alan Murray said he hadn’t pursued the job of Fortune editor. He was named to the post this morning.

The magazine was “one of only two places I applied to work after finishing my graduate degree,” he writes, saying the opportunity to go there “feels like a calling, and it is one I find impossible to resist.”

Pew “will promptly begin a search for the new president” of the research center, Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca Rimel told Poynter this morning. Jim McMillan will act as president during the search, Murray writes.

Memo:

It is with very mixed emotions that I announce I am leaving at the end of the month to become Editor of Fortune magazine.

This is not a job I was looking for, or sought. But Fortune, created by Henry Luce some 85 years ago, is one of the nation’s great and enduring journalistic brands. It is one of only two places I applied to work after finishing my graduate degree. The opportunity to lead this iconic news organization into the new media world does not feel like just another job opportunity. It feels like a calling, and it is one I find impossible to resist.

I will miss this place immensely. I was an ardent consumer and user of the Pew Research Center before coming here in November of 2012. In the nearly two years since, I have become so much more than that. I am in awe of what you do, your intelligence, your rigor, your overwhelming dedication to your work. This is a very special place and you are a very special group of people. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve the organization for the last two years.

I feel like we have done a lot together, mapping out the right path to the future. But I also believe you don’t really need me to achieve that future. This is not my strategy we are executing; it is yours, reflecting the efforts all of you put into forging it last year. It is also a strategy built in careful consultation with the board of the Center, and the leadership and board of The Pew Charitable Trusts, and one that they fully support.

You also have a very strong leadership team in place, overseen by Michael, Elizabeth and now Robyn. That troika, as well as all the managing directors, will serve you well going forward. Jim McMillan, general counsel of the Trusts and a member of our board, will serve as acting president during what all hope will be a brief search for a new president.

I will be in the office until August 1. My door is open and I will welcome the chance to talk.

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