Wirecutter editor in chief Cheng is stepping down
Wirecutter general manager David Perpich and editor in chief Jacqui Cheng sent the following message on Monday:
I’m forwarding along a note that Jacqui sent moments earlier to the editorial organization (which means some of you have already seen this). As you’ll see, in it, she announces that she’ll be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief and transitioning into an advisory role beginning in September.
I want to thank Jacqui for all that she has done for Wirecutter, both before I joined as General Manager and since. To state the obvious, Jacqui’s fingerprints can be found throughout this organization which is one of the main reasons it has been so successful, growing from a few people to over a 100 and being acquired by The New York Times Company. Her level-headed, thoughtful approach, with a determination to shoulder whatever comes her way, has enabled her to move mountains and be a guiding light for her team and others, including me. That’s why I’m thankful to have her continue as an advisor to me.
With the transition, Jacqui and I are excited for her to tend to her family and pursue the next chapter of her career, while also setting up a new Editor-in-Chief to bring fresh energy to the top role, continuing Wirecutter’s work of making the best recommendations and rethinking how we help readers find the right things for the way they want to live. The opportunities to do great work has never been more plentiful as we look to help millions of super fans “wirecutter” their homes.
I will be opening the Editor-in-Chief role to both internal and external candidates. Whoever we put in this role will have big shoes to fill, but Jacqui and I are both confident that the next Editor-in-Chief will set up Wirecutter to thrive for the next five years and more. I will be working with Jacqui, Brian Lam and editorial leadership to make sure we find the right person and do it as quickly as possible.
In the interim, I’m very excited that Ganda Suthivarakom has agreed to serve as interim Editor-in-Chief. For all the reasons Jacqui says below, I have no doubt that she’ll provide a burst of energy that will both address issues the team is currently facing and accelerate our ability to pursue opportunities. Jacqui, Ganda and I will be working to pull a transition plan in place over the coming month and will share the details as we pull them together.
We are meeting with the editorial staff today and have the company meeting on Thursday where we’ll try to answer any questions you have. Also, feel free to reach out to Jacqui, Ganda or me before or after those meetings with questions, concerns or opportunities.
Dear Wirecutter Staff,
It’s truly amazing to marvel at how far Wirecutter has come since I took the job of Editor-in-Chief in 2013. Wirecutter & Sweethome at the time consisted of Brian Lam, Christopher Mascari and a barebones crew of crazy freelancers, no hours, no Slack, no processes, no health insurance, and no office—just a PayPal account and a WordPress blog. Today, we’ve got almost 4,000 recommendations on our website and are on track to be an organization of nearly 120 people that is owned by The New York Times. And in terms of the business, it’s amazing how far we’ve come from where we were five years ago.
Started from the bottom now we’re here!
Nearly the whole Wirecutter staff as of July 2014 in Christopher Mascari’s apartment in Los Angeles (Photo by Clint Ecker)
There has been a lot of change in between to get us to where we are today. This staff is always innovating on our work in a way that continues to build reader trust by showing the audience that we serve them first, even when their behaviors evolve and copycats have multiplied like mogwai after midnight.
Nearly two years after being acquired by The Times, it’s no surprise that Wirecutter is entering into another new phase as we continue along the path to becoming the most recognized and influential service in helping readers figure out what to buy for the way they want to live.
The reason for this note is that I wanted to let you know that I’ll be stepping down from my role as Editor-in-Chief and stepping into an advisory role to David Perpich and Wirecutter leadership beginning in September. As some of you know, some difficult circumstances occurred in my family recently—I won’t bring down this letter with the details, but my commitments to helping my family get through this time have only highlighted how challenging it is to do so while also driving Wirecutter’s editorial to be the absolute best it can be. This is also a moment for me to take a breath and return to some of my own writing projects. I feel strongly that the best version of Wirecutter is one that is constantly reinventing itself, as we began to do earlier this year with our new home strategy. This is a truly exciting time, and Wirecutter’s editorial is ripe for fresh energy at the helm to take the home strategy to the next level.
Wirecutter Managing Editor Ganda Suthivarakom will take the role of interim Editor-in-Chief as edit leadership works with David to evaluate internal and external candidates. Ganda, formerly Executive Editor of the Sweethome, has been leading major parts of our editorial operation under me for nearly four years and has a deep appreciation of what our work represents and how to make it great. I know that you all will thrive under her guidance, and that of Executive Editor Mike Berk, until we find a permanent replacement.
Over the coming month, I’ll be working closely with David and Ganda to put a plan in place to ensure that you’ll keep doing great work during the transition. And, of course, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible—in person, over video, or even on Slack—before I move out of my current role.