New York (AP) – The Associated Press on Tuesday named Daisy Veerasingham president and CEO of News Cooperative, replacing Gary Pluit, who retired early next year.
She will be the first woman to lead AP in its 175-year history, the first race of color, and the first outside of the United States.
Veerasingham, 51, is a first generation Briton of Sri Lankan origin. His appointment is a testament to the evolution of AP’s situation. 40% of AP’s revenue is double that of 15 years ago and is now generated outside of the United States.
It is responsible for continuing to diversify its sources of income. Affected by the same economic gripe as most media industries, AP’s revenue fell to $ 467 million in 2020, down more than 25% in 10 years.
Veerasingham said he was determined to keep AP as a source of factual, non-partisan journalism and to fight for press freedom and access to information. AP produces around 2,000 news articles, 3,000 photos and 200 videos every day, reaching more than half of the world’s population.
“These have been AP’s core values since its inception 175 years ago,” she said in an interview. “Today I think they are actually more important.”
Pruitt, 64, has led AP since 2012. The company has won six Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership. Two of them were this year, and in 2021 they won three of the top journalism awards.
He is currently working with Veerasingham to find a successor to Sally Buzbee as Associated Press editor. The date is scheduled for a month or two. Busby named Washington Post editor this spring.
“We are very proud of the fact that AP journalism has been excellent in meeting the challenges of the market,” says Pruitt. “AP looks confidently to the future and is in a strong financial position to continue providing core reporting to the world.”
AP’s board of directors has appointed Veerasingham, who served as AP’s vice president and chief operating officer at last week’s meeting. Hurst Chairman, President and CEO Stephen R. Swarts called him a proven leader with a deep understanding of how PAs work and a clear vision for the future.
Veerasingham joined AP in 2004 as Sales Director for AP Television News in London. She was ultimately responsible for content licensing and marketing in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, leading the company’s expansion efforts.
She also led AP’s video business to become a fully digital operation capable of delivering live video across multiple channels.
As the core business of selling news to newspapers and broadcasters began to shrink, AP expanded its licensing efforts to other areas such as businesses and universities. We also started a business to license old photos and videos by acquiring a company that owns old movie newsreels.
The Associated Press also provides the organization with studios and news material, sells news software, and earns money by counting votes and conducting polls. According to Veerasingham, other diversification efforts are underway, including providing personalized reporting and managing videos for auctions held by companies such as Sotheby’s.
“AP is probably the strongest base in use for a very long time,” she said. “I don’t think the world needs to worry about the future of The Associated Press. Are there future challenges? Yes, we need to diversify our results and stabilize our results. I think that’s what we can actually do over the next three years, thanks to the financial strength that we’ve built up. “
Like many other companies, AP will return to the office in the next few months, but initially a hybrid approach, including telecommuting, will be implemented.
One of the things she taught him about PAs during the pandemic was that “we can do a lot more than we thought,” she said.
Prior to joining AP, Veerasingham worked in marketing at LexisNexis and the Financial Times. He is a lawyer by training and has never worked as a journalist.
After his retirement, Pluit said he plans to split his time between California and New York City and looks forward to taking classes at the University of California, San Diego.