Michael Finnegan named chief operating officer of Atlantic Media

September 21, 2015
Category: Uncategorized

Michael Finnegan, the chief financial officer at Atlantic Media, has been promoted to chief operating officer, Atlantic Media CEO David Bradley announced in a note to staffers today.

Finnegan fills the role vacated by Justin Smith, who left Atlantic Media to run Bloomberg Media Group in 2013. Smith was regarded as one of the minds behind Atlantic Media’s digital revival, which saw the debut of new properties like Quartz and the Atlantic Wire.

In his memo, Bradley calls Finnegan “an exquisite talent” who will serve as his second-in-command, helping oversee the company’s various executives.

Everyone who reports to me now will continue to do so; but, I’ve asked the presidents of our divisions to report to Michael as well. This is making de jure a practice already done de facto.

Atlantic Media has launched multiple digital initiatives in recent years, including several new brands under its Government Executive Media Group: Defense One (national security coverage), Route Fifty (local government coverage) and Nextgov (Federal technology coverage). The company has also pruned some efforts, including the Atlantic Wire and National Journal’s print publication.

Here’s Bradley’s memo:

My Atlantic Media Colleagues,

As you may know, since the departure of Justin Smith two years ago, I have been managing – some would add “unconvincingly” – the day-to-day operations of Atlantic Media. With this note, I want to announce that I am asking one of my executive team, Michael Finnegan, to serve as second in command, the chief operating officer of Atlantic Media. Everyone who reports to me now will continue to do so; but, I’ve asked the presidents of our divisions to report to Michael as well. This is making de jure a practice already done de facto.

Michael is an exquisite talent. He received both a BA and MBA from the University of Virginia. Following several years in management consulting, Michael joined Atlantic Media, first in digital analytics and business development, more recently running both strategy and finance for the firm. He is an iconic manifestation of our two pillar values – force of ideas and spirit of generosity. Of late, Michael has led the firm’s aggressive turn to distributed content – our partnerships with Facebook and Apple included. And, I have loved working with him in every capacity.

Some months back, I visited my old company, the Advisory Board, to ask advice on recruiting. The executive there commented: “Oh, you should be talking about the strategist-as-CEO model.” When I responded that “that sounds like a term of art, strategist-as-CEO. Is that your model now?” She answered, “yes, we’ve come to the view that the most important quality to put at the top of an office is clarity of thought.”

That, for me, is Michael’s gift. He is as clear a thinker as any I’ve worked with. I’ve come to trust his thinking and judgment coping with the (fear-inspiring) complexity of modern media. Against all odds, Atlantic Media grew 20% last year; against all odds, it will do the same this year as well. This is a team accomplishment, but it’s hard to overstate Michael Finnegan’s centrality to that team.

I close with my respect and appreciation to you all.