BLOOMBERG’S LATEST EXIT: Bloomberg’s quickest rising star has left the building. It had been rumored for several months that the 43-year-old chief content officer Josh Tyrangiel was itching for a change of scenery—especially since Michael Bloomberg, the company’s founder, had come back to run the show.
Since Bloomberg’s return, then-chief executive officer Dan Doctoroff exited the company, and longtime editor Economist editor John Micklethwait was hired to run the company’s news division. Bloomberg News founding editor Matthew Winkler moved to the ambiguous role of editor in chief emeritus.
This story first appeared in the October 2, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Micklethwait’s appointment early this year – and Bloomberg’s more hands-on role at the financial terminal and content company he founded – set off a flurry of defections, including that of Laurie Hays, who was seen as Winkler’s heir apparent. Bloomberg Digital guru Josh Topolsky was dismissed from the company months after it debuted its redesigned Web sites, which insiders said did not please the founder.
In August, Claudia Milne, head of Bloomberg’s U.S. television unit, and a Tyrangiel hire, was moved to special projects, and Al Mayers, general manager of radio, was put in charge of both TV and radio. The company also cut 90 news jobs, including 12 from its Washington D.C. bureau and about 20 in New York, as it instilled a hiring slowdown.
All the changes likely rankled Tyrangiel, whose path had begun to look less stellar than before, sources mused.
They pointed to the fact that Bloomberg’s lucrative terminal business, which accounts for about 85 percent of its revenue, has lost its vice grip on the sector, as competitors have flooded the market with less expensive products. Another factor, one insider suggested, was linked to BusinessWeek’s profitability. WWD reported earlier this year that the magazine has continued to lose money since Bloomberg bought it from McGraw Hill in 2009. Rumors put annual losses at $40 million. Additionally, insiders told WWD that Pursuits, the company’s luxury magazine, is also now losing money. They pointed to changes on the masthead, namely the dismissal of editor in chief Ted Moncrieff, and recent departure of publisher Ali Salma, who just was appointed at the end of June.
According to insiders, luxury advertisers have not been taken with the new Pursuits under editor Emma Rosenblum and Tyrangiel, who supervised the redesign of the magazine and was responsible for the masthead shakeup. Graff, the high-end jeweler, is said to have dropped its advertising, as the new look is less luxury and more BusinessWeek. Sources noted that Tyrangiel “doesn’t get” luxury, and said the future of Pursuits is “very important” to the company.
Whether Tyrangiel “gets” luxury doesn’t matter anymore. The editor, who climbed the ranks at Bloomberg from editor of BusinessWeek in 2009 to overseeing all content on the company’s media platforms in 2014, declined to comment on where he will go next.
In a personal email to colleagues, he wrote: “After six great years, I’ll be leaving Bloomberg at the end of the week. There’s no deeper explanation than that the time is right. The news organization is thriving, BusinessWeek is in a great place, and I’m eager to check out new possibilities and test myself in different ways. Thanks to all of you for being so supportive—as friends, colleagues, subjects, and sources. These have been golden years, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’ll let you know what’s next as soon I as it arrives.”
Tyrangiel may be typically playing coy, however. He indicated to The New York Times Thursday that he has a gig already lined up, noting: “I’ve always loved documentaries, visual news. It’s an itch I want to scratch.” (It seems Tyrangiel, in his cliches, both wants to “scratch” and “test” himself.)
Those comments caused sources to speculate that Tyrangiel would likely head to a deep-pocketed digital firm like Vice Media or perhaps Fusion, which is trying to turn around its lackluster business, and focus more on documentaries and digital.
“Those guys keep giving out money like water,” said a source, referring to Fusion. Another possibility—and one that has been long rumored—is Apple, which is on the hunt for someone to run editorial content. Facebook, which just lost Liz Heron, head of news media partnerships, to The Huffington Post, has also been floated.
Back at Bloomberg, there’s buzz that Justin Smith, the ceo of its media group, could be the next to exit. But for now, the current changes, which include deputy editor Ellen Pollock’s appointment as editor of BusinessWeek and Reto Gregori’s new role as interim head of magazines (BusinessWeek, Markets, Pursuits and Bloomberg’s investigative unit), may be enough of a shakeup for the time being.