Fishbowl5 With FP CEO David Rothkopf

This week Susan Glasser, Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Policy Magazine for the past three years, dropped a bombshell on her staff and announced that she was leaving the publication for Politico, where she will head up a longform magazine-style writing department that will reportedly cost Publisher Robert Allbritton a good chunk of change. In recent weeks, FP has lost top writers like Josh Rogin to The Daily Beast and Kevin Baron to Atlantic‘s new Defense One. What’s more, the mag recently parted ways (amicably, we’re told) with Ed Diller, the publisher, as did the sales rep he brought over from the WSJ.

An FP source explained to FishbowlDC, “Ed was based on the West Coast, the other rep in NYC, and they were both extremely talented and good at their jobs. It just made sense for FP to redouble its efforts at its headquarters here in DC, and so that’s what happened. It certainly isn’t a reflection on their abilities and they both left the company on good terms.”

Sources tell us Rogin and Baron also left on good terms. “Baron is an excellent reporter – he was well-liked by his colleagues, he broke stories, worked his ass off, and did everything he was supposed to do. He may be able to provide more context regarding his departure. Rogin left to take the job at The Daily Beast. It was just a really good opportunity for him, and he’d done a lot here at FP.”

So how does FP CEO David Rothkopf feel about all the changes? Well, we asked him. And it turns out he had a hell of a lot to say.

It can be tough when an Editor-in-Chief leaves or it can be a bright spot, a sense of relief. What was your gut reaction when Susan Glasser told you she was leaving FP for Politico? I have a lot of respect for Susan and all she has accomplished not only at FP but also at the Washington Post. Her contributions to Foreign Policy—bringing it into the Internet Age, if you will—were enormous. But there are also creative cycles within organizations. Sometimes it can be helpful to hit the reset button, reevaluate and embark on the next period of change. This is a 44-year-old company that has gone through a number of such cycles and emerged stronger from each. That is what our intention is now. We have some big changes on the horizon—expanding coverage, new products, deepening the relationship with our readers in important ways—and so this can certainly be seen as a win-win moment. Good for Susan. And the beginning of new, great things for the FP community.

At least some of the staff appeared to be surprised by the news. Were they not given warning about it? This was handled just as it would be in any organization. Susan and I discussed for a couple of weeks. When we decided on what was going to happen we developed a plan to coordinate the messages from FP and Politico to ensure that this was seen as what it was, an amicable change that would begin important new eras at both publications. We then told top staff and made sure everyone in the organization was informed before the news broke publicly. We had a team meeting on Monday and the mood was just what you would hope for—appreciation for Susan and enthusiasm about the great opportunities that lie ahead.

Who will replace Glasser? Does Rothkopf know yet?

Do you know yet who will replace her as Editor-in-Chief?

We have a great team here—terrific bench depth and terrific leadership. We also have some wonderful new hires on the horizon (don’t worry, you’ll be the first to know about them). As for the final structure we embrace, we’re evaluating our options but you can expect an announcement on that in the next couple days.