New HuffPo CEO Hippeau: ‘Could Make It Profitable Today’

imageAs we reported earlier, Eric Hippeau is switching roles at the Huffington Post from board member to CEO. He’ll still be on the board but as the person responsible for day-to-day operations, not the adviser, for the first time since he left as chairman and CEO of Ziff-Davis in 2000. Hippeau isn’t completely leaving the VC world: he stays on at SoftBank as special partner, representing the company on three portfolio boards. (Separately, we understand that SoftBank is on the verge of deciding whether or not to raise a new U.S. fund.)

Why Hippeau? HuffPo Cofounder Ken Lerer told me he first met Hippeau four years ago and, within 15 minutes of explaining the concept, had a handshake deal for Softbank to invest. No, Hippeau doesn’t have general news experience but “he gets journalism completely,” Lerer said. “As we were going through our thinking as a board, it became apparent that we had the best possible new CEO right here.” Why change now? Referring to the economy, Lerer explained: “Sometimes things happen where you can really build a company aggressively. … This is the time the Huffington Post needs to get to the next level. It