News & Politics

Politico’s Top Editor Steps Down

Matt Kaminski will leave his job, and co-founder John Harris will once again be top editor.

Photograph courtesy Politico.

Politico’s US editor-in-chief, Matt Kaminski, will leave his role at the end of August but remain at the news outlet, Politico Media Group CEO Goli Sheikholeslami told staffers in a memo Monday. John Harris, who co-founded the publication and served as its editor-in-chief until 2019, will lead the US and European editions of the publication, which German publishing giant Axel Springer purchased in 2021. His title will be global editor-in-chief.

Kaminski had recently been “candid in expressing his readiness for a new professional challenge,” Sheikholeslami told staffers in a memo first reported by the New York Times (read the full thing below). Kaminski founded Politico’s European edition and led it until he replaced Harris in the top US spot in 2019. Harris has since served as Politico’s Editorial Chair and wrote a column called “Altitude.” Kaminski will become editor-at-large and plans to write regularly, he says in his own memo (also below).

Harris “is not returning to a job he once had,” Sheikholeslami writes:

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. He will report to me, with a line also to Mathias (like all top news executives within Axel Springer.)

In that role, Harris “does not intend to fill the U.S. editor in chief job,” the CEO tells staffers. Dafna Linzer left her role as executive editor earlier this year after she and Kaminski “saw ourselves diverging” over strategy, Kaminski wrote staffers in March.

Here’s Sheikholeslami’s memo:


I am writing today to share important news about two POLITICO founders: John Harris, who permanently transformed the Washington media landscape as the co-founder of POLITICO, and Matt Kaminski, whose impact has been equally profound as the first editor in chief of POLITICO Europe and as the current editor in chief of our U.S. operation.

Both Matt and John have been instrumental in shaping the strategy for our next chapter and have proven to be invaluable allies to me in my role as CEO. In our recent conversations, Matt was candid in expressing his readiness for a new professional challenge after a remarkable nine-year tenure leading two newsrooms —Matt Kaminski will leave his job, and John Harris will once again be top editor—this time, for the US and European editions. a period that saw POLITICO reach new heights.

It simultaneously became evident — to our delight — that John, who, as Editorial Chair, has been advising us on our long-term strategy, is invigorated by the possibilities offered by new ownership and the potential of this team and is eager to roll up his sleeves and do the work required for us to win.

Together, John, Matt and I decided that Matt will move on from his current role as U.S. editor in chief on August 31st. At the same time, John will take on a new role as POLITICO’s first global editor in chief.

Matt is one of the great builders in journalism today. It’s a reputation he has established in both of his leadership roles at POLITICO. In 2014, Matt left the Wall Street Journal and moved to Brussels, where he launched one of the most successful media start-ups of the past decade. The other half of Matt’s tenure has been in Washington. In his five years here, POLITICO greatly expanded the breadth and impact of its journalism. Matt pushed us to grow out the coverage of technology and energy, national security, the states and the judiciary, among other areas, and launch numerous successful products, not to mention a new Playbook team. He steered the newsroom through several election cycles and a pandemic. His work was essential in facilitating a successful change of ownership in no small part by exhorting us to embrace a new conception of the publication—one with agenda-setting capacity around the world and on the most complex policy matters.

John’s return to executive duties marks a significant moment for our company, and you’ll hear more from him later today. But first I want you to hear from me. Throughout my time at POLITICO, I’ve been deeply impressed not only by John’s journalistic prowess and political expertise but also by his visionary ideas about the future of media and POLITICO’s role in Washington and on the global stage. His intimate knowledge as a founder gives him a unique perspective to see and seize opportunities others may not. With John at the helm, we are primed to embark on POLITICO’s most ambitious journey yet, as we set sail to traverse greater distances at unprecedented speeds.

To be clear: John is not returning to a job he once had. 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. He will report to me, with a line also to Mathias (like all top news executives within Axel Springer.) He does not intend to fill the U.S. editor in chief job. With another presidential election cycle underway, and with an indispensable partner in Jamil Anderlini in Europe—John believes it is pivotal that he be immersed simultaneously in the Washington and global stories.

John has made a long-term commitment to help me, and all of us, fulfill our commitments in the strategic plan — and to in turn make POLITICO a genuine force in the global media arena. He told me he was feeling more energized about POLITICO and its future than he was even at the launch in 2007. In my time with John, it is clear that he really means it when he says, “POLITICO is a start-up again.” I know he means it when he pledges that people here should be having more impact—and more fun—than they could anywhere else in media. He’s exactly right. That’s why I am here, and why I hope you are too.

We are at one of those pivot points in the life of the publication—a moment filled with deep gratitude for the leadership that got us here, and with excitement about the vast possibilities for the future.

After Matt finishes up his managerial responsibilities as editor in chief at the end of the summer, he plans to turn to writing and working on projects that support POLITICO’s ambitions as editor at large. He will produce his own journalism, contributing regular pieces on American and global affairs, and representing the publication where needed. He is eager to re-engage that side of his professional life that first established him as one of his generation’s top journalists and delivering for our readers his unique perspective and wit. I have also asked him to continue to serve as a strategic adviser to me on our global ambitions.

We have lots of work to do, and you’ll be hearing lots from all three of us — Matt, John, and I —frequently, over the balance of the summer. For now, our most important work is to express our profound gratitude to Matt for his industry-leading achievements at POLITICO.

With appreciation and excitement for all to come,


And here’s Kaminski’s memo:

To our global team,

I wanted to share with colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic a few thoughts on why now is the right time for a change – for the publication and for me.

I walked into the old Rosslyn newsroom in the early fall of 2014 and felt a jolt. I think you know what I mean. Here was a place that was old school in its commitment to doing journalism right. But it had other traits I’d only experienced in small doses in my other professional stops: a strong distaste for conventionality and newsroom bureaucracy, a subversive spirit, a place both highly competitive and supportive, and energetically entrepreneurial in its approach to the craft and our industry. I was hooked.

Over these years, I’ve had the privilege to help start and lead something we were told repeatedly would never succeed: a pan-European publication on politics and policy. It did succeed. I was drawn back to the U.S. in 2018 by a similarly exciting mission: To combine the various parts of POLITICO and create a powerhouse in multiple arenas, reinforce our dominant position in Washington and push us into new arenas, like national security, global technology and energy and environment. To grow the newsroom to support our ambitious business plans, while making it a better place to work and welcoming to all. We did it.

In my leadership roles here, I’ve been lucky to help build a fast-growing and profitable media company spanning nine time zones, from Berlin to Sacramento. I feel fortunate we found a committed and idealistic owner in Axel Springer. Above all, I’ve found amazing colleagues, mentors and friends, truly the best and kindest people in the business.

The coming year would have been my tenth as editor in chief in the U.S. and Europe. I’ve had this marker in mind as we began to implement the growth plans we unveiled last December for the next decade. We have to ensure the newsroom is best suited to seize the opportunities of the future, to finalize a company-wide ’24 cycle plan, to win in California, and so much else. Clearly this requires a serious, long-term commitment from the top editor. At this point in my career, I’m ready for something different.

The timing is good for another reason: The publication is in great shape. Our journalism – look at the historic coverage of the Supreme Court last year, or the transatlantic cooperation we’ve had on the Ukraine story – has never been better. John, a mentor from my first day here, founded and imbued this place with his ideas and values; we’re lucky to have him stepping up to take on this important new role. In Goli, we have a CEO who understands both our calling and the business; she has put together a compelling strategy for the future and built an excellent team to execute on it.

Going forward, I plan to support those efforts in a different capacity. As Goli mentioned, this fall I’m moving to a role as editor at large, where I plan to return to writing regularly and work on other projects for POLITICO. I’m also eager to exercise the entrepreneurial muscle we prize here in other ways. This will be, I’m sure, a wonderful new chapter for the company.

We have spent a lot of time preparing for a smooth transition. I’ll lead the newsroom through the end of August and hand the baton over to John on September 1st.

Goli, John and I will be in Collaboration Day meetings through the middle of the afternoon but will be around after 4 pm in the newsroom if you’d like to stop by and talk further. There will be plenty of other opportunities to meet in person and virtually in coming days, too.

I’m grateful to Goli and John for their support. And above all I want to thank all the colleagues, past and present, in Europe and North America, who have made the ride so far here this fun.


Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.