Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti today announced two key executive promotions: General Counsel Lynn Oberlander will take on the added role of Executive Vice President and long-time head of product Lauren Bertolini has been named Chief Operating Officer. The news comes as GMG President Heather Dietrick announced her departure from the company she is departing the company for a new opportunity.
See notes from Raju and Heather announcing the news below:
From: Raju Narisetti
Date: Thu, May 18, 2017 at 10:06 AM
Subject: Life without Heather
It is never easy to say goodbye to someone as talented, caring and committed as Heather has been, throughout her time at GMG. She remains not only an incredible champion and fan for our journalism and our journalists, but also for the larger organization and its unique mission.
She has been vocal in making sure we preserve and support what makes GMG special, while being pragmatic about the many changes, especially the many functions that are now stretching well beyond the realm of GMG executive team. And, in many ways, it was only a matter of time when another organization would come knocking, as it did in recent weeks, giving Heather an even bigger personal stage to show her multi-faceted skills.
There are many GMG alums who have gone on to greater glory, building on their rich experiences here. While it is a matter of great pride that leaders such as Heather are getting opportunities out there, it is also bittersweet, because her absence will be deeply felt.
But, as Heather also noted, what makes GMG great is the resilience, strength and talents of our growing team. And, as we look forward to adding to the journalistic and business momentum we have shown this year, I wanted to share this about two key executives of our GMG team who will now be taking on larger roles.
Lynn Oberlander, our Senior Vice President, General Counsel, is being promoted to Executive Vice President, General Counsel GMG, and Lauren Bertolini, our Senior Vice President Product, is being promoted to the additional role of Chief Operating Officer of GMG, with both taking on expanded duties on the executive leadership team.
In addition to her General Counsel duties, Lynn will be taking on an enhanced role in the strategic direction of people management. She will be leading our efforts to provide more professional development opportunities for all our staff. She will also continue to work closely with GMG leadership on strategy and employee communications. Over the past month, Lynn has played an active role in helping to address integration challenges and she will now become a key liaison with the broader FMG/Univision team, advocating for the needs and interests of all GMG staff. As we continue to grow, Lynn will work on making sure our staffs, now in multiple locations, and our processes function seamlessly. Lynn will continue to participate in labor-management meetings as well.
Since joining GMG, Lynn’s rich background coupled with her commitment to championing and defending courageous journalism have proven to be a great asset to our team — our recent FOIA lawsuit being the latest example. She will also be extending her legal expertise to support other investigative reporters across Fusion Media Group, including the investigative production team for Fusion TV’s “The Naked Truth.”
As for Lauren, over the past five years and alongside the talented technology team, she has been a key partner for our newsroom and our journalism, as the Kinja platform has continued to enable GMG to disrupt the status quo. In Kinja, we have that rare publishing platform that is loved by all of us internally—journalists and our revenue teams, alike—as well as by our growing audiences. And in Lauren, we have a talented leader of people, platform and processes, someone who deeply values the importance of our unique, independent journalism as the bedrock of our success.
In the past six months, Lauren’s steady leadership has helped make many of the technical integration efforts, including the successful migration of The Root and Fusion onto Kinja, as seamless as one could have wished for. She has also spearheaded ongoing efforts, working closely with Alex and all our site-leads, to continuously enhance Kinja so that it reflects each site’s branding and identity.
In her expanded role, Lauren will be the driving force behind our product and platform strategy, serving as a key partner for the edit teams in making sure our user-experience remains a top priority as we look to get our journalism in front of more readers. As COO, she will help shape our overall growth strategy, playing an active role in company-wide budgets, general management and key hires, and work with Alex and newsroom leadership on the many new editorial initiatives that our site leads want to pursue, leveraging the power of our Kinja network. In addition, she will focus on how we can significantly expand GMG’s nascent video experience to highlight our expanding video journalism efforts, and help editorial achieve its multimedia storytelling ambitions.
In her product and technology role, Lauren will continue to work with FMG CTO Mark Kortekaas and the technology organization in Chicago, New York and Budapest, as we extend Kinja across the broader portfolio, and work closely with Lynn and me on all GMG-wide initiatives.
Please join me in congratulating Lauren and Lynn on their richly deserved promotions and in wishing Heather amazing success in her new endeavor.
For starters, Lauren, Lynn and I, will be available at 11-12 noon today by the lobby area to chat with anyone who wants to swing by this morning, and you should feel free to also reach out to us directly, especially if you are not in NYC. Alex is also around and available to talk to anyone who wants to.
The plan is to send Heather off to her new professional adventures with a traditional GMG send-off, so stay tuned for more information about that.
The note from Heather Dietrick announcing the news to the staff below:
From: Heather Dietrick
Date: Thu, May 18, 2017 at 10:03 AM
All — I write today to announce my departure from GMG. As I reflect on my four years here, I’m filled with many emotions, the dominant one being pride — pride in what this company has accomplished, the important stories we’ve told, the platform we’ve built, the resilience and strength you’ve demonstrated in the face of uphill climbs. We all came here because we wanted to help put out great stories everyday, and I can say without hesitation that through it all, the sites are better today than ever before and on countless occasions have me beaming, laughing, learning, and shaking my fist at power held to account.
As for me, I’m incredibly excited to be taking on a new opportunity where I will be leading a company I’ve long deeply admired to new places. I hate to further bury the lede but it’ll be revealed soon in a public announcement so stay tuned.
While I’ll no longer be on the GMG journey, I’ll still be following along from afar and can’t wait to see what you make next. I leave with the reminder that this company is much more than any single person, and the principles on which it rests live on in everyone who is a part of it. I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many thoughtful, effective leaders and individuals and have watched you retain the heart and spirit that attracted you here in the first place. Keep building on that spirit and finding ways to grow and make a positive impact inside and out. It’s been one hell of a ride and truly an honor of a lifetime.
Keep in touch.