Arianna Huffington to leave Huffington Post to focus on start-up

(Reuters) - Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington said on Thursday she would step down as editor-in-chief of the news site that bears her name to focus on running her new venture, health and wellness startup Thrive Global.

Huffington said on Twitter that she thought the Huffington Post, which made its debut in 2005, would be “my last act” but now wanted to concentrate on the new venture.

“Thrive Global’s mission is to change the way we work & live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is a necessary price for success,” she tweeted.

In June, Huffington, 66, who recently wrote books on health and sleep-related issues such as “Thrive” and “The Sleep Revolution,” announced the upcoming launch of Thrive Global. It will offer services to companies to improve the well being of employees by providing training, seminars, e-courses, coaching and other support.

It recently closed a Series A funding round ahead of a launch in November.

Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N owns the Huffington Post through AOL, which bought the liberal American online news aggregator and blog for $315 million in February 2011. After Verizon bought AOL in June 2015 for $4.4 billion, Huffington renewed her contract to stay on as the site's editor-in-chief and president through 2019.

“As Thrive Global moved from an idea to a reality, with investors, staff, and offices, it became clear to me that I simply couldn’t do justice to both companies,” she said in a statement.

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In addition to aggregating news, the Huffington Post features original reporting. There was no immediate word on who would succeed Huffington as editor-in-chief.

The Huffington Post, which has yet to turn a profit for AOL, has more than 100 million unique visitors per month.

AOL’s takeover of the Huffington Post had its rocky moments, in part because of tensions between AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and Huffington over issues such as allocation of resources, Reuters has reported.

Wireless service provider Verizon bought AOL, including its ad technology tools and content brands, such as the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, to make a push into digital media and advertising. It said last month it would buy web portal Yahoo Inc YHOO.O for $4.8 billion.

Thrive Global's Series A funding round was led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a venture capital fund of Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer. Other investors include entrepreneur Sean Parker, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's BABA.N founder Jack Ma's investment firm Blue Pool Capital, Greycroft Partners and Advancit Capital.

Reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York and Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott and Alan Crosby