The Atlantic has hired Facebook’s Alex Hardiman to head up its business and product efforts. She’ll join in the fall from Facebook, where she’s been serving as the social media giant’s head of news products.
In her new role, Hardiman will focus on digital consumer revenue, audience experience and product strategy, leading The Atlantic’s product, engineering, data and growth teams.
“I’ve always been a news person,” Hardiman said in a Facebook post. “It’s my passion during the workday and my guilty pleasure on nights and weekends. It’s why I spent a decade at The Times before coming to Facebook to help tackle some of the company’s formidable news challenges, and it’s why I’m now joining The Atlantic at a unique moment in its history.”
Hardiman joined Facebook in 2016, just as criticism against the platform for its role in spreading “fake news” began to spread like wildfire. She was promoted to lead its news efforts on the product side in May 2017. Before that, she spent more than a decade at The New York Times, completing her tenure as vice president of news products.
“Her leadership positions at both Facebook and The New York Times give her an unrivaled perspective on digital media, and her audience-first focus will sharpen the appeal of our work,” The Atlantic president Bob Cohn said in a statement. “All this will serve us extremely well as we aggressively expand our ambitions for 2019 and beyond.”
At Facebook, Hardiman was involved in a variety of projects, including removing the trending feature and launching Facebook Watch. Both initiatives were part of a greater effort to remove fake news from the site and provide new avenues for more reliable news from trusted sources.
“Alex is a true leader who built a fantastic team,” a representative from Facebook told me. “She helped develop a framework and key news products for both people on Facebook and publishers. We wish her nothing but the best at The Atlantic.”
Here’s Hardiman’s full statement:
A Personal Update
I have some news to share: after two deeply gratifying years at Facebook, I’ve decided to leave and join The Atlantic in the fall.
I’ve always been a news person. It’s my passion during the workday and my guilty pleasure on nights and weekends. It’s why I spent a decade at The Times before coming to Facebook to help tackle some of the company’s formidable news challenges, and it’s why I’m now joining The Atlantic at a unique moment in its history.
Facebook has given me so many things for which I’m profoundly grateful: wildly talented colleagues, great relationships with news organizations that are reinventing their future, and deep humility for the difficulty of solving nuanced problems at Facebook’s scale. Facebook has a long way to go, but there’s important progress being made to rebuild trust with consumers and publishers. The people behind the scenes work like crazy to make that happen and they often fly under the radar, but you can read more about some of them here: https://www.cnet.com/…/the-cure-for-facebooks-fake-news-in…/. I’m proud of the News team’s mission-driven ethos and I couldn’t be more confident and optimistic about its future.
It therefore required an extraordinary opportunity to compel me to move on. The Atlantic has always been a part of my life when things got complicated. When I was conflicted about how to pursue professional ambition and motherhood at the same time, I found Anne Marie Slaughter’s perspective to be the most refreshing and relatable take on the issue. When I was trying to make sense of President Obama’s foreign policy, Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting brought radical clarity and honesty to my understanding of America. Since before the Civil War, The Atlantic has consistently defined the most ambitious and contentious ideas of the moment. In today’s political and social climate, its role has never been more vital.
So when I met with The Atlantic and Emerson Collective teams to learn about the next phase of investment and growth, I already knew how much of a privilege it would be to join them. In my new role, I’ll be partnering with teams across The Atlantic to create digital products that people love, grow the company’s consumer revenue line, and transform The Atlantic from a media-centric organization to a leader in media and product. After having built products with hundreds of news organizations at Facebook from the outside, I’m particularly excited to return to tackle these opportunities with The Atlantic from within.
Facebook friends: thank you for everything. I’ve learned so much from you and have an unwavering appreciation for all that you do to better serve the people and publishers who use your products.
Future Atlantic colleagues: I can’t wait to get to work and join you on this important mission. Thank you for having me.