Politico said Monday that its top U.S. editor was stepping down and would be replaced by one of the publication’s co-founders, John Harris, who will also take on additional responsibilities for the media outlet’s international editions.
Matt Kaminski, who joined Politico nearly a decade ago from The Wall Street Journal, will conclude his tenure as editor in chief at the end of August, Goli Sheikholeslami, Politico’s chief executive, said in an email to the staff on Monday.
Ms. Sheikholeslami said in her memo that the new role for Mr. Harris, who had been serving as editorial chair, would be expanded to include all of Politico’s editorial units.
“To be clear: John is not returning to a job he once had,” Ms. Sheikholeslami said. “To the contrary, he is stepping into a new role as the single top editorial executive in the company, with newsrooms in the United States and Europe reporting to him.”
Ms. Sheikholeslami said in the email that after Mr. Kaminski finished in his role, he would become editor at large at Politico and focus on writing.
The change is the latest to the top ranks of Politico. In March, the executive editor, Dafna Linzer, who reported to Mr. Kaminski, stepped down after a year in the job. Mr. Kaminski acknowledged in an email to staff at the time that he and Ms. Linzer “saw ourselves diverging” over Politico’s strategic direction.
In her email, Ms. Sheikholeslami credited Mr. Kaminski for expanding Politico’s newsroom and bolstering coverage of technology, energy, national security, the states and the judiciary. She noted that Mr. Kaminski steered Politico through several election cycles and the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, Politico was named a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving states power to regulate abortion. Two Politico reporters, Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, wrote an article that included a draft opinion of the decision, a rarity for the tight-lipped high court, setting off alarm bells during the run-up to the court’s announcement later in the year.
Mr. Harris founded Politico with Jim VandeHei and Robert Allbritton in 2007, intending to shake up Washington political coverage with fast insider dispatches for online readers. In 2016, Mr. VandeHei and the star reporter Mike Allen left Politico to start the competing news site, Axios. Mr. Allbritton recently put $20 million into the nonprofit Allbritton Journalism Institute, which will train aspiring political reporters.
In 2021, Politico, by now much more than just a Beltway news site, with a European edition, a network of newsletters and a lucrative policy platform, was bought by the German publishing giant Axel Springer for $1 billion.
Substantial friction among Politico’s co-founders in the past over the direction of the company had motivated Mr. VandeHei’s exodus.
Mr. Harris said in an interview on Monday that he was willing to return to day-to-day leadership of Politico, in part, because the sale of the publication to Axel Springer had unlocked new opportunities for expansion and growth. He said that his previous role at the company was somewhat ill-defined, and that the new appointment gave him the authority to make changes.
“I told our new owners at Axel Springer and Goli I wanted in,” he said.