Matt Winkler steps down as Bloomberg News EIC

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Matthew Winkler will step down as editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. Economist Editor John Micklethwait will be the news organization’s new editor-in-chief. Winkler will be Bloomberg’s “Editor in Chief Emeritus,” a spokesperson tells Poynter.

The Economist’s board is beginning the process of choosing Micklethwait’s successor, it says in a press release. He’ll leave at the end of January, the Economist says.

Michael Bloomberg’s “view has always been to make changes to the business when you’re growing and things are going well,” Bloomberg LP executive Kevin Sheekey said in a statement. “He would rather prepare for the future than react to it.”

“When Mike left City Hall, he said the only two publications he would read are Bloomberg Businessweek and The Economist. He has enormous respect for John and what he’s done.”

Winkler’s eventual departure was portended by a decision last year to reorganize the editorial ranks at Bloomberg, creating six executive editor positions — three of which reported directly to Winkler, said Time Inc. chief content officer Norman Pearlstine, who was formerly chief content officer at Bloomberg News.

“He signaled a willingness to delegate authority that went beyond what had been true for most of his tenure,” Pearlstine said.

Winkler’s departure from a news organization he built from scratch is significant, Pearlstine said.

“I think he’s had a remarkable 24-year run,” he said. “Starting with six employees in 1990, he’s built one of the great news organizations on earth. It’s a remarkable accomplishment.”

A magazine editor graduating to run an international news outlet like Bloomberg News is a big jump, but it’s not unprecedented, Pearlstine said. Steve Adler was editor of Businessweek before he became a senior vice president at Reuters; he was promoted to editor-in-chief in 2011.

Micklethwait is a natural fit for Bloomberg, which in recent years has been rolling out a series of public-facing verticals and initiatives, said Rick Edmonds, a media analyst at The Poynter Institute. The former Economist editor also brings with him a reputation for gathering high-end financial news.

“You kind of assume that anybody who has that job really understands how to generate high-quality content for people that are influential and rich,” Edmonds said.

Here’s Mike Bloomberg’s memo:

Hiring Matthew Winkler 25 years ago to create a news service that would allow Bloomberg to bypass the wire services and provide market-moving information more quickly to our customers was one of the best decisions I ever made – and it worked out better than either of us could have hoped. Today, thanks to Matt’s relentless pursuit of excellence, Bloomberg News is the fastest, most reliable, and most insightful news organization in the world – and the value added for our customers cannot be overstated. I have always believed that organizations benefit from internal change, and that is one of the reasons I stepped away in 2001. Now, as I resume full-time leadership of the company in 2015, Matt will take on a new role as Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, working directly with me on strategic initiatives, while also conducting high-profile interviews of global newsmakers and bringing his insights and expertise to the most important stories. His experience will be enormously beneficial to me, and he will play an active and vital role at Bloomberg.

As part of this transition, I am excited to announce that, early in the new year, John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of the Economist since 2006, will succeed Matt as Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg. His background makes him the perfect fit for the job. John began his career in banking at Chase Manhattan. He moved to The Economist in 1987 to become a finance correspondent and worked his way to the top. He has done an exceptional job leading the Economist into the digital age and expanding its audience. As a leading authority on globalization, he has appeared on television and radio programs around the world, and he is the co-author of numerous books. He’s as hard-working as he is talented, and we are thrilled that he has decided to join Bloomberg.

His arrival early in the new year will give us the chance to unify the editorial side of our company, which has grown rapidly in recent years. John will oversee editorial content across the company, including our news, newsletters, magazines, opinion, television, radio and digital properties. He will also oversee our research, including Bloomberg Intelligence and Bloomberg Brief. The incredible diversity of our content presents opportunities for greater collaboration and coordination among different teams, and the more we can capitalize on those opportunities, the better we can serve our clients – and expand our audience and influence. John will work closely with Justin Smith, CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group, who will continue to report directly to me on all business and strategy matters across Bloomberg’s diverse media properties.

I’ve never been more optimistic about Bloomberg’s future. I’ve loved being back, and I’m looking forward to a great 2015.

All the best,
Mike

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