The Atlantic hires Facebook, NY Times exec Alex Hardiman to guide evolving product strategy

Alex Hardiman, who helped build products for Facebook and NYT, joins The Atlantic as its chief business and product officer

The Atlantic announced today that Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products, will join the publication as its chief business and product officer.

Hardiman spent the last two years at the social network leading the Pages product team in New York before being tapped last year to lead the product and engineering teams for news, overseeing the news experiences for all Facebook users — including the expansion of Facebook’s subscriptions product for news organizations.

She has also been a key liaison with news organizations as part of The Facebook Journalism Project, which earlier this month received a $4.5m boost from the company to better help publishers gain subscribers in what has been looked at as a restructure of the print space as a whole.

Before Facebook, Hardiman had worked for a decade at The New York Times, building strategy and product for NYT's web presence on its native site, smartphone and tablet, and third-party platforms.

For The Atlantic, Hardiman has been asked to guide audience experience and product strategy across The Atlantic’s platforms; lead the product, engineering, data, and growth teams; and shape The Atlantic’s ongoing initiatives on digital consumer revenue.

Specific to Hardiman's focus: the evolving digital presence of The Atlantic's user experience on desktop and mobile, as well as for newsletters, podcasts, video, apps, virtual reality, and smart speakers. She will also continue to shape and expand The Atlantic’s digital consumer business.

The team tasked to work under Hardiman’s watch has doubled in size from this time last year. Kim Lau, who oversaw much of Hardiman’s responsibilities as senior vice president of digital, was elevated to executive vice president of strategy and operations.

Hardiman has been scheduled to start in the fall. Bob Cohn, The Atlantic’s president, said in a statement: “As The Atlantic continues to grow, Alex will bring extraordinary innovation and creativity to our businesses. 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. All this will serve us extremely well as we aggressively expand our ambitions for 2019 and beyond.”

Hardiman added: “The Atlantic has never been more vital than it is right now. In this moment of growth and transformation, I'm thrilled — and humbled — by the opportunity to partner with brilliant minds to ensure that as many people as possible experience its products and perspectives,” said Hardiman.

Although some have been calling the end of print as we know it, The 160-year old publication looked to hire 100 new staffers across its divisions and platforms. Last fall, The Atlantic launched its first premium membership, The Masthead, and has been building capabilities in data, consumer marketing, and engineering in order to put new energy behind how it approaches subscription-based revenue.

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