Heather Dietrick, CEO of IAC’s Daily Beast, is leaving the news and opinion website at the end of 2023, Variety has learned.
Dietrick has been hired as chief media officer at Outside Interactive, whose 13 editorial brands include Outside Magazine, Backpacker, Ski, Climbing, Yoga Journal, Velo, Pinkbike and Triathlete. She will remain with the Daily Beast through the end of the year as IAC searches for her replacement.
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Dietrick joined New York-based Daily Beast in May 2017 from Gizmodo Media Group (formerly Gawker Media). During her tenure at the IAC brand, the site launched its first subscription tier, offering unlimited access and ad-free subscriber newsletters; rolled out ecommerce business Scouted; and bowed the pop-culture vertical Obsessed.
“It is with mixed emotions that I write to share that after six incredible years, I will be moving on from the Daily Beast to become Chief Media Officer at publisher Outside, Inc., where I will combine my passion for media with my love of engaging in the world of the outdoors,” Dietrick wrote in a memo Wednesday to Daily Beast staff about her departure, which was obtained by Variety. (Read the full memo below.)
IAC claims the Daily Beast currently reaches more than 1 million readers per day. Earlier in 2023, IAC chairman Barry Diller explored a deal that would have merged the Daily Beast with Ankler Media, a startup co-founded by Janice Min, a former top editor at the Hollywood Reporter and Us Weekly. However, by midyear, Diller had decided to abandon that deal, the New York Times reported. After the Daily Beast launched in 2008 by founding editor Tina Brown, IAC became 50% owner of the merged Newsweek Daily Beast Co. IAC then bought a controlling stake in the venture before selling Newsweek to IBT Media in 2013.
At Outside, based in Boulder, Colo., Dietrick will oversee all operations and 150-plus staff at Outside’s media brands, reporting to CEO Robin Thurston. Outside also is reorganizing operations into four divisions: Outside Media, led by Dietrick; Outside Entertainment, housing TV, audio, events and creator teams, led by chef entertainment officer Jonathan Dorn; Outside Event Services (which includes AthleteReg and FinisherPix) led by VP Ross Krause; and Outside Mapping, which includes Trailforks and GaiaGPS, will be run by an exec to be announced by year -end.
Prior to the Daily Beast, Dietrick was president of Gizmodo Media Group, the company that housed brands of the former Gawker Media (excluding Gawker.com) that was acquired by Univision Communications (and is now under new ownership as G/O Media). She previously was president and general counsel of Gawker Media, which in 2016 filed for bankruptcy after the company lost an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by wrestler Hulk Hogan that was funded by billionaire Peter Thiel.
Before joining Gawker in 2013, Dietrick was a lawyer for Hearst; a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; and an associate at Goodwin Procter, where she practiced trademark and patent litigation and prosecution.
Read Dietrick’s memo to Daily Beast employees:
All – It is with mixed emotions that I write to share that after six incredible years, I will be moving on from the Daily Beast to become Chief Media Officer at publisher Outside, Inc., where I will combine my passion for media with my love of engaging in the world of the outdoors. Outside’s mission of getting everyone outdoors has a very special resonance for me, as many of you know I love to spend my free time hiking with Jack and Lola or skiing in the mountains.
When I arrived at the Beast six years ago, I set out on a mission to take a largely ad-supported business and diversify revenue while enhancing its journalism, and over this remarkable adventure together, we did just that. We’ve built a premium subscription product that proves our journalism is worth paying for, fueled by a rapidly growing subscriber base, and a best-in-class ecommerce business in Scouted. And we broke new ground and expanded our coverage with the launch of Obsessed, today a seven-figure business on its own, that has made Hollywood and our premium advertising partners stand up and take notice — in signature Beast style.
I couldn’t be more humbled or proud to have worked alongside some of the most talented, passionate truthtellers in the business. Your journalism has been revelatory, impacting lives, galvanizing change and shaping culture, as dozens of top industry awards in the years we’ve worked together can attest. I’m proud of our work together and the strong position the small but mighty Beast is in today — and have no doubt in its bright future.
I also know that I leave with the Beast in good hands. Tracy [Connor, editor in chief of the Daily Beast] is one of sharpest newsroom leaders in the business, and I stand in awe of the fierceness, heart, and intelligence she brings to our reporting every day. I know she is eager to continue to lead the newsroom, embody our mission, and inspire the company as she always has.
IAC has begun a search for a new leader for the Beast’s next chapter, and I will remain at the Beast through December 31, helping IAC in this transition. I’ll be available to answer questions and look forward to working with all of you until the end of the year.
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