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Arianna Huffington leaves HuffPost for new health startup

August 12, 2016

She founded what would become a global news phenomenon over a decade ago and gave it her name. Now Arianna Huffington is moving on from the Huffington Post to invest time in an issue close to her heart: well-being.

Arianna Huffington, Copyright: imago/IPON
Image: imago/IPON

Even the founder of one of the world's most successful digital news organizations has only 24 hours in a day and can't run two companies at once.

That's why Arianna Huffington says she is leaving the Huffington Post, which she founded in 2005, to launch a new startup. Called Thrive Global, it focuses on health, well-being and productivity in the workplace.

"I'm filled with excitement at the prospect of devoting the rest of my life to accelerating the culture shift away from merely surviving and succeeding to thriving," Huffington said in a statement. The entrepreneur announced her decision Thursday on Twitter:

"Running both companies would have involved working around the clock, which would be a betrayal of the very principals of thrive I've been writing and speaking about," said Huffington.

A nonprofit, Thrive Global aims to provide an interdisciplinary approach to tackling what it sees as the global problem of burnout and stress in the workplace. Set to launch after the US presidential election in November, it will bring together experts from fields including neuroscience, psychology, sleep and others to provide seminars, e-courses and coaching.

According to Thrive Global, $300 billion (267 billion euros) is spent each year in the US alone due to stress and burnout in the workplace. The issue is one Huffington has addressed in two books she has authored, "Thrive" and "The Sleep Revolution," which was released earlier this year.

Investors in Thrive Global include NBA basketball star Andre Iguodala and philanthropist Sean Parker.

Building a digital news giant

The 66-year-old Greek-American journalist launched the Huffington Post in 2005, at the cusp of the digital news revolution.

Despite criticism that the site just compiled news borrowed from other sources, in 2011 it went on to become the first digital news outlet to win a Pulitzer Prize for a 10-part series about wounded US war veterans.

The Huffington Post currently operates in 10 languages, producing some 1,500 pieces of content and reaching 178 million people daily.

When the Huffington Post was sold to AOL in 2011 for $315 million, Huffington stayed on as editor-in-chief. AOL has since been bought by Verizon, putting the successful site under the aegis of the telecom giant, though AOL functions as an independent unit.

Arianna Huffington is "a visionary who built the Huffington Post into a truly transformative news platform," said Tim Armstrong, who heads the AOL unit that includes the news site.

kbm/rb (AP, dpa, AFP)