BuzzFeed Promotes PR Lead to Chief of Staff/Advisory Role

Ashley McCollumWant to know what it’s like to work for BuzzFeed? Today, the media company promoted Ashley McCollum (follow her on Twitter) from head of PR to a chief staffing and “advisor to the executive team” role while also naming Dao Nguyen to the new position of “Publisher.” More specifically, McCollum’s official title changed from “VP, Communications and Business Development” to “Chief of Staff.” She will also serve as a personal advisor to founder/CEO Jonah Peretti.

Some quick facts about McCollum: she has spent nearly three years in comms role at BuzzFeed after working in NBC’s communications and marketing department; she is a Carolina girl who loves Charleston even more than we do but is not, as she clarified on Twitter this afternoon, a Gamecocks fan. (The Clemson/USC division runs in deep in Palmetto Country.)

We also got an update of sorts on the general BuzzFeed PR structure: Ashley still officially runs communications at the company, though they are currently looking for a senior executive to work with her and Peretti on the strategic front. Senior comms manager Christina DiRusso (follow her on Twitter, OBV) handles PR on the biz/tech side while Cat Bartosevich (follow her too) handles things for editorial.

All parties recommend that PRs continue pitching BuzzFeed writers directly with story ideas. Their contact info is easy to find.

The memo from Peretti, which went out this morning, after the jump.

Hello BuzzFeeders,

Thank you all for your tremendous work, the talented team at BuzzFeed is the primary reason for our success. Today I’m thrilled to announce that two team members will be taking a bigger role at the company.

Dao Nguyen has been promoted to the newly created role of Publisher.

As Publisher of BuzzFeed, Dao will oversee tech, product, data and everything related to our publishing platform. Dao’s team will include Mark Wilkie, who will continue as CTO leading tech, Chris Johanesen who will continue as VP of Product, and a new head of Data & Growth to fill Dao’s previous role. This new structure will allow us to move faster, coordinate across the organization, and accelerate our investment in tech, product, and data science.

We are redefining the role of Publisher to reflect the way the world works today where technology is the core of publishing. This is very different from the traditional role where the title is inherited within a family business, like the Sulzbergers at the New York Times, or in the magazine world, where the Publisher is often the person responsible for selling advertising and overseeing business operations.

Dao is a new type of Publisher. She isn’t the heir to a newspaper baron and she won’t be responsible for the business, selling ads or physical newsstand distribution. Instead, she’ll lead publishing for the social web, in the most modern sense, where data science, the CMS, technology, and a deep understanding of social networks, mobile devices, and digital video matter most. If publishing is “the activity of making information available to the general public,” then I’m confident Dao will become the very best publisher in a rapidly changing industry where technology and data science are the key to success. Dao has been a key player and innovator at BuzzFeed, and I’m so happy she’s accepted this role as the first Publisher of BuzzFeed.

Dao is our Publisher, Ben is our Editor, Greg is our President, and Ze runs Motion Pictures. Respectively, they lead teams focused on publishing, editorial, business, and video. It is a simple, powerful structure that will allow us to do great things in the future.

The other team member taking a bigger role is Ashley McCollum who will become my Chief of Staff. Her new responsibilities will include helping shape strategy for company-wide initiatives, acting as an advisor to me and the executive team, and working closely with me on new projects. Ashley will continue to run communications where she has done excellent work leading a talented team. Ashley has gained the respect of many here and worked closely with every team in this company, and she is the perfect person for this crucial new role.

Jamie Urso, who previously held the title, will continue to secretly run the company and assist me in a new role as Chief of Stuff. She will work closely with Joel and me on cultural projects, contribute to the new Service group with the focus on making life at BuzzFeed increasingly awesome, and continue as our cruise director at Brews.

Please join me in congratulating Dao, Ashley, and Jamie!

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.