(Another) WaPo Digital Shakeup: Sheikholeslami Leaves; New CRO

Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor, Washington Post

The Washington Post‘s top digital exec is leaving next month. The departure of Goli Sheikholeslami, GM, Digital & VP, Digital Product Development, after eight years with WaPo print and digital, is framed as her decision in a staff memo sent out this afternoon by Katharine Weymouth, Steve Hills, and Marcus Brauchli (see below). And since this posted, I’ve been assured The move comes scant months after the paper finished its digital and print integration and sets off another series of changes, effective immediately, including an expanded digital role for Managing Editor Raju Narisetti.

Ken Babby has been promoted to chief revenue officer of Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) Media/Washington Post Digital and GM, Digital, from VP, Post Media Advertising. He’ll oversee all non-circulation revenue functions for Post Media and Post Digital in what seems to be a vastly expanded role from that of Sheikholeslami.

Raju Narisetti gets an expanded digital role on the edit side. One of two managing editors, Narisetti will add responsibility for the Universal News Desk to “presentation” operations so he can “guide our digital offerings from inception to creation to implementation to operation.” He will oversee all digital news content, including newsletters, alerts and emails. Narisetti’s responsibilities, detailed more below, include “news-product strategy, innovation and development on the web, mobile and other digital platforms,” as well as audience building and engagement. Fellow Managing Editor Liz takes over Style and the other feature sections.

Update: As Mediagazer‘s Megan McCarthy just reminded me, Sheikholeslami took a turn in WaPo’s live chat only last week. The topic: The Future of Washington Post Digital Content. No mention that she wouldn’t be part of it although she did answer a digital brain drain query: “We hate to see our good talent go, but we also understand that there will always be new challenges and opportunities that may cause us to lose some.”

For the record, she stuck with WaPo’s standard no-paywall mantra but left a wee bit of wiggle room with “at this point in time.” Some new products, she suggested, might require subscriptions. “If they are truly differentiated products, then I don’t think users would object to paying.” She explained the stance a little later: “On the web, we generate revenues from selling ad impressions and therefore putting our site behind a pay wall would actually have a negative impact on online ad revenues.”

Update II: I haven’t talked to Sheikholeslami but am assured by someone familiar with the situation that this was indeed her decision, made at least in part because of concern over not having enough resources to do the job. That adds a little nuance to the last line of the memo: “They will have all the support they need to ensure The Post


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