In a surprise announcement that its owner says "[makes] perfect sense for the publication," one of the co-founders of Politico, as well as perhaps its most prominent journalist, will be leaving the publication, the New York Times reports. CEO Jim VandeHei, who helped launch the site in 2007, and Mike Allen, who puts out the daily Politico Playbook newsletter, will depart after this year's elections have come to a close, owner Robert Allbritton said in a memo to staff sent Thursday evening. Three other senior execs also slated for departure: revenue chief Roy Schwartz, COO Kim Kingsley, and Danielle Jones, the executive VP for expansion.
People "with knowledge of Politico's operations" tell the Times that there was some recent friction behind the scenes over management strategies and other issues. But VandeHei says in his own memo that he's off to start "a new venture," and Allbritton calls the development "fundamentally good news." It's "an opportunity for more growth, for more people to take on great jobs," he writes in his memo. "It is an occasion to show the world what has been true for a long time, which is that Politico is here for the long haul, powered by a team that is much bigger than any of us who happened to be here at the beginning." Allbritton indicates he'll take over as CEO.