August 8, 2016 Last Updated 9:52 am

With the departure of Poppy McDonald to Politico, Kevin Turpin promoted to President of National Journal

Turpin joined Atlantic Media, the publisher of National Journal, over a decade ago, and was most recently Executive Director, Strategy and Operations

The president of National Journal, Poppy McDonald, is leaving to become president of Politico’s U.S. operations. The move follows a series of departures from Politico including CEO Jim VandeHei, as well as its chief operating officer and chief revenue officer.

Meanwhile, National Journal will need a new president and today the company announced that they would peg the company’s current Senior Vice President for Strategy and Operations, Kevin Turpin, to fill the president slot.

Here is the memo to staff:

Dear National Journal Colleagues:

I’m writing with some bittersweet news. Poppy MacDonald is leaving National Journal in September to join Politico. After five years with us, most recently as President and Publisher, it’s hard to see Poppy go. In that time she also developed and grown National Journal’s groundbreaking membership business, the foundation on which the company has built a suite of products and services dedicated to helping Washington policy practitioners do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

More on Poppy in a bit, but first I want to state how fortunate we are to have in our ranks a hugely talented leadership team to continue guiding the growth of National Journal. With that, I’m pleased to announce the promotion of Kevin Turpin from Senior Vice President for Strategy and Operations to President of National Journal. Taking on this leadership role is a natural progression for Kevin. Throughout his eleven years with National Journal, Kevin has consistently demonstrated a keen talent and instinct about the needs of the Washington market. Of Kevin, our Chairman David Bradley writes: “Kevin is as instinctively wired to lead men and women – especially in the high art of intellectual product – as anyone I’ve seen. I’ve come to trust Kevin’s judgment entirely.”

As you all know so well, Kevin has led National Journal’s new product development and research teams for the past several years. In that role he has been responsible for the successful incubation, launch, and oversight of many of National Journal’s growing suite of products and services. Forgive me for repeating what many of you will already know, but in testament to Kevin’s leadership and talent, I think it’s worth mentioning a few of the impactful and valuable services that Kevin has played a critical role in bringing to life.

The founding service of National Journal Leadership Council is our strategy research. The service analyzes the best practices of Washington’s top practitioners of government affairs. Under the direction of Managing Director, Aaron Young the research staff surveys hundreds of members of the government affairs community annually, identifying and profiling new practices at the frontier of advocacy strategy.

One of the early successes of the membership services transformation was our creation of The Presentation Center in 2011. The Presentation Center has become an integral part of the workflow of the Washington policy professionals by helping them communicate complex Washington developments to stakeholders outside of the beltway. This service produces over 6,000 slides and slide decks annually. The Presentation Center recently launched coverage of six verticals covering areas such as tech, healthcare, and tax under the direction of the Executive Director, Afzal Bari.

Policy Brands Roundtable, launched under Kevin in 2013 and led since 2015 by Executive Director, Michael Gottlieb, serves policy practitioners with unique insights into the effectiveness of their policy brand in Washington. It is currently National Journal’s fastest growing offering, having grown revenues by over 40% in the last year. I couldn’t be more pleased with how Michael has grown the business, establishing it as invaluable to policymakers looking to measure, maintain, and strengthen their policy brand among government professionals.

I’m equally pleased with the early success of National Journal’s newest offering, Network Science Initiative, also launched under Kevin and led today by Executive Director, Luke Hartig. In just six months, Luke and his growing team of researchers and data analysts are serving almost 20 Washington organizations by identifying key stakeholders and influencers of their most important policy issues. This groundbreaking product is quickly establishing itself as the leading provider of stakeholder mapping in Washington.

Kevin has been critical in the creation and continual improvement of each of these products. I have the utmost confidence that, as President of National Journal, Kevin will continue to build on our already impressive suite of products to ensure that we serve our members and clients to the highest degree possible. Please join me in congratulating Kevin!

As well as we are positioned to continue our mission, we will certainly miss Poppy. She joined us at a turning point for our traditional media and subscription business with the imperative to help us transform from a pure advertising and subscriptions media business into a comprehensive and differentiated membership and information services business. Poppy has been an extremely successful leader and steward of that mission during her tenure. Just to point out a couple examples of that success, the subscription team was only 10 people serving subscribers in 2011 and today the membership services team has grown to over 90. We have also seen the economics of the business transform under her leadership as 75% of National Journal revenues now derive from the membership and its progeny of new research services. I know David will be writing to celebrate Poppy and her achievements here more properly in the week of her departure, but please join me now in wishing Poppy well in her future endeavors.

In the short-term, Kevin will be meeting with each of you to discuss what this means from an operational perspective. My door is always open should you have any questions. This is an exciting time for National Journal, and I am proud to be working with each of you.


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