Quartz Names New Publisher

Business startup set for Sept. 24 launch

Quartz hasn’t launched yet, but the business startup from Atlantic Media has already changed publishers. The company is expected to announce today that Jay Lauf, vp and publisher of The Atlantic, will add responsibility for Quartz—set to go live Sept. 24—as he assumes a bigger, corporate role at the company.

One can see why Atlantic Media turned to Lauf to lead Quartz, which is being positioned as mobile-driven. Under Lauf, the Atlantic turned a profit in 2010 for the first time in recent memory and hit another milestone in 2011 when half its ad revenue came from digital, making it a rarity in the magazine industry.

“Justin [Smith, Atlantic Media president] and I have both been architects of a digital-first strategy for The Atlantic, so for the time I’ve been here, I can count myself as a digital native, regardless of what my background is,” Lauf said.

The last publisher was Chris Batty, a Gawker media vet who was hired in March but quietly left a few weeks ago. In announcing his hire, Atlantic Media described Batty as an “innovator” and a “rare digital talent” who would work arm in arm with editor Kevin Delaney in launching the new brand. Atlantic Media now downplays his role, describing him as a consultant, and Smith has taken on a more active role at Quartz, securing its four launch sponsors.

In his new role as svp and group publisher of Atlantic Media, Lauf will also add oversight for National Journal and Government Executive. That may sound like a lot of turf to cover, yet Lauf said he didn’t plan to hire a dedicated publisher for Quartz.

“It is about having a great team underneath you,” he said. “We have a great team at The Atlantic, and we’ll probably add more people there. At Quartz, we’ll be hiring a team.”