December 8, 2020

Former ESSENCE CEO Michelle Ebanks Joins The Atlantic’s Board Of Directors

By haziqbinarif


Former ESSENCE CEO Michelle Ebanks Joins The Atlantic’s Board Of Directors

#BlackGirlMagic will soon be coming to The Atlantic’s board of directors.

The media platform is joining the ranks of companies such as Netflix, Uber, and AT&T who have recently added Black women to their board of directors. And not just any Black woman at that — an ESSENCE woman. Michelle Ebanks, the former CEO of #BlackGirlMagic headquarters (aka Essence Communications Inc.), will join the board as the first fully outside director

”I believe that The Atlantic’s journalism, content and insights are more important to our society than ever before,” said Ebanks to ESSENCE. “I’m delighted to join the Board of Directors and work to support its commitment to impactful storytelling and innovation.”

The announcement came this week to The Atlantic’s staff by way of memo from Laurene Powell Jobs and David G. Bradley. “Further, we are announcing the first of what will be two or three new directors. We have asked Michelle Ebanks, recent CEO of Essence Communications, to be the first fully-outside director,” said the statement. “Michelle, a famous talent in the magazine world, came up through the executive corridors of Condé Nast and Time Inc.  At her creative best, Michelle grew and led the annual Essence Music Festival, one of the largest music and culture festivals in the U.S.  We are deeply grateful to have Michelle with us.”

Michelle Ebanks and Oprah Winfrey at 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 2, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. | Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival

Prior to joining The Atlantic’s board of directors, Ebanks was pivotal in the success of the ESSENCE brand since first joining the company in March 2001 as Group Publisher. Ebanks was front and center in 2018 for the historic acquisition of Essence Communications from Time Inc. by an independent Black-owned company, making the brand 100 percent Black-owned by Richelieu Dennis, the founder and chairperson of Essence Ventures, and led by a Black female executive team.

In March 2020, Ebanks stepped down from the role of CEO to pursue other opportunities and to join the board of Essence Ventures, parent company of ESSENCE.

In the memo, The Atlantic also announced that Nicholas Thompson, the editor in chief of Wired, will become its CEO in the new year. 

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