In her role at Gimlet, Polgreen will be responsible for overseeing the entire programming slate including strategic planning and setting a creative vision for the studio. She joined Verizon-owned HuffPost in December 2016 after more than a decade at the New York Times.
Polgreen announced her move to Spotify’s Gimlet in a tweet, saying in part, “Gimlet has built the greatest audio team in the world, and I’m so lucky to have the chance to learn from them.” She said she’s been “an audio obsessive since I was a little expat kid glued to the shortwave radio in our kitchen in Kenya, yearning to connect with the far-flung world.” Polgreen said she will start at Brooklyn-based Gimlet later in the spring.
In 2019, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, founded by former public-radio producers Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, in a deal worth about $189 million (€172 million) plus up to $44 million in incentives. It also bought two other podcast companies, Anchor and Parcast, and last month, Spotify acquired Bill Simmons’ The Ringer in a deal worth up to $196 million.
Polgreen’s tenure at HuffPost was marked by several rounds of layoffs as Verizon Media realigned the publication’s strategy amid economic headwinds in the digital-media space. Polgreen also shut down HuffPost’s unpaid blogger program in a bid to raise the site’s editorial quality.
In announcing her move to Gimlet, Polgreen expressed gratitude to Verizon Media, which she said “has championed HuffPost at a time when aggressive journalism that holds power to account is more necessary and more under threat than ever.”
Verizon Media is conducting a search to replace Polgreen as EIC and plans to evaluate both internal and external candidates. “HuffPost continues to be an important part of the Verizon Media family,” a company rep said in a statement. “We remain excited for the future of HuffPost and we are committed to its success.”
Polgreen comes to the Gimlet team as the company continues to see strong listenership for shows hits like “Reply All” and “Science Vs.” and has launched new series like “Motherhacker” and “How’s Work.” According to Spotify, Gimlet’s originals played a major part in the 200% year-over-year growth in podcast consumption on the audio and music platform in 2019.