Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on top

On Thursday, the media magnate announced she'd be stepping down as editor-in-chief of her namesake publication. She's not the only high-powered woman to quit while she's ahead.
Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on top

Photo, Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock.

Arianna Huffington seemed to have it all: A successful online publication she built from scratch; a side hustle as a bestselling author; an enviable sleep schedule. Even so, on Thursday morning, she announced plans to step down as editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post to head up Thrive Global, a productivity startup. Is she crazy?

Well, no, she's not. She's not even unique: Scores of Canadian women are opting out of the harried race to the C-suite in favour of new challenges and more fulfilling, less crushing workloads. And among the upper echelons, CEOs and celebrities are proving that dropping the mic — whether or not they've got a back-up plan — is a savvy way to shake up a brand. Below, a few examples of high-profile figures who left while they were hot.

Successful quitters

Arianna Huffington

Stepped down as: Editor-In-Chief of The Huffington Post

In order to: Run her productivity start-up Thrive Global

"Running both companies would have involved working around the clock, which would be a betrayal of the very principles of Thrive [that] I’ve been writing and speaking about. To truly thrive means knowing when the time has come to close one chapter and start the next, and for me that time has arrived."

Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on topPhoto, Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Will soon step down as: The face of her lifestyle brand, Goop

In order to: Grow the brand

"The challenges I encounter every day running a business and operating a business are incredibly fulfilling, and totally terrifying and really awesome.... More and more I would like it to be its own brand — my dream is that, one day, no one will remember that I had anything to do with it." 

Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on topPhoto, George Pimentel.


Stepped down as: Long-time host of The Oprah Winfrey Show

In order to: Spearhead OWN, "a 24-hour cable network that reflects her vision, values and interests"

"I love this show. This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones, and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number — the exact right time."

Oprah WinfreyPhoto, Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock.

Carine Roitfeld

Stepped down as: Editor-In-Chief of French Vogue

In order to: Start her own independent magazine, CR Fashion Book

"Before, I had an assistant, a car, everything organised for me. Now I have to call taxis on the street. Vogue was like a golden cage. It is a beautiful life, but for me, it is better to have a change. I feel I am making a new family. It is a wonderful new energy."

Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on topPhoto, Broadimage.

Kirstine Stewart

Stepped down as: Twitter’s Vice President for Media in North America

In order to: Well, she's not exactly sure yet.

"I think there’s a personal list of accomplishments and criteria that we tick off in our heads, and it tells us when it’s time for change. And there [are] signs in your heart and in your home too. Like other times when I’ve made changes in my career, here I heard again, knock knock knock, loud and clear."

Arianna Huffington's exit shows the wisdom of going out on topPhoto, Twitter.

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