Investor Takes Over Management of Huffington Post

As the Huffington Post bulks up, the company is apparently changing management: CEO Betsy Morgan is on her way out, replaced by Eric Hippeau of investor SoftBank Capital, PaidContent reports.

Morgan joined HuffPo in October 2007 after working as general manager at CBSNews.com. As CEO, she served on the HuffPo board along with Hippeau, Arianna Huffington, co-founder Kenneth Lerer and Fred Harman of Oak Investment Partners, which in December put $25 million into the internet publication.

Investor Takes Over Management of Huffington Post

That deal converted HuffPo's election buzz and traffic into dollars, signaling that the publication was entering the media big leagues. Another key development was an investigative reporting grant, accompanied by the influx of veteran editors from other publications, including one from the Washington Post.

It's been unclear whether the recent growth was compatible with founder Huffington's often volatile and always idiosyncratic management style; today's turnover could be a sign that HuffPo's investors demanded closer supervision — or, less climactically, simply wanted Morgan out.

UPDATE: HuffPo confirms, in a statement that pointedly notes, "The Huffington Post co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer made the announcement" of Morgan's departure and not, say, Softbank. Morgan, meanwhile, pointedly notes that she's leaving with some shares of the company.

Huffington's quote:

Having worked closely with [Hippeau] for the last three years, I know firsthand what an invaluable asset he has been in our expansion. And now, given his impressive background in the industry and his intimate knowledge of HuffPost, Eric is uniquely able to hit the ground running as the company takes its expansion to the next level.

Hippeau was CEO of tech publisher Ziff Davis from 1989-2000 and serves on the board of Yahoo. At Softbank, he's a managing partner.

(Pic: Top via PaidContent, bottom via TechCrunch)