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London-based Guardian News and Media has named Eamonn Store the CEO of its U.S. operation, the company said Tuesday afternoon. He joins the Guardian from media agency MEC, where he was most recently president of agency development.
The Guardian also said it will open a West Coast office.
The Guardian has been trying to gain a foothold in the U.S. since at least 2006, when it hired Michael Kinsley as its American editor at large. It rolled out a new U.S. homepage in 2011 and a year later raided Salon.com for columnist Glenn Greenwald, who later broke the story about NSA surveillance with the help of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The scoop led to its biggest traffic day from U.S. readers, it said.
In May of this year, the Guardian's U.S. website drew 21.6 million unique visitors on mobile and desktop, up 15% from the previous year, according to ComScore.
But the Guardian still trails fellow U.K. operation the MailOnline, the top newspaper site in the English-speaking world and No. 2 in the U.S. behind The New York Times. MailOnline, whose frothy approach to the news has lately earned it a bitter PR assault from George Clooney, last month named former BuzzFeed President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Steinberg to the newly created post of CEO for North America.
With 25 years of agency-side experience in the both the U.S. and U.K., Mr. Store, who will be based in New York, "will play a key role as the Guardian strengthens its focus on its U.S. business," the company said in a statement about the appointment.
Michael Bloom had been the Guardian U.S. CEO until his departure in January, when David Pemsel, deputy CEO of Guardian News and Media, began overseeing business operations in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Australia. Mr. Store will report to Mr. Pemsel and begin in the new role Sept. 2, the same day Katharine Viner starts as editor in chief of Guardian U.S.
"As much as I will miss my MEC family, the opportunity to partner with Katharine to help shape the future of the Guardian brand in the US is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," Mr. Store said in a statement.