"I didn't want to say I was going to spend more time with my family. That's the ridiculous thing that everyone says. I'm going to develop something big and exciting, but I don't know what that's going to be," he told Adweek.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Steinberg notified employees of his departure on Monday via a joint memo. Steinberg added that he had been talking to the company's founder about leaving for the past three to six months. They thought with the summer coming up, now was the best time to make the transition.
Steinberg will carry out his duties until the end of the month, after which he will slip into an advisory role at BuzzFeed for the next six months. He will also become an advisor at Lerer Ventures—which has a stake in the millennial-targeted online publisher—for an undetermined period. It's something chairman Ken Lerer and he had been chatting about for some time, he noted.
Steinberg hasn't taken any meetings to discuss his next move, but he's open to setting those up beginning today. While he knows he wants to work on building new ideas and is open to his upcoming project joining the Lerer Ventures family, it would depend on the yet-to-be determined idea.
"I have to figure out what I want to do," he explained. "I love media. I love tech. I love entertainment. I’ll start with a blank sheet."
During Steinberg's tenure, BuzzFeed grew from 15 employees to 500 people. Google's former strategic partner and development manager for local markets said the definitive part of his career at the company was building the native advertising product, which he proudly labeled the "defining ad product for this era." "Everybody thought that it was a joke," he admitted.
He added that the company's "strong bench of executives" will select his replacement, but no one has been decided on yet.