David G. Bradley
David G. Bradley (born 1953) is the owner of Atlantic Media, which publishes several prominent news magazines and services including The Atlantic, National Journal, Quartz, The Hotline and Government Executive. Before his career as a publisher, Bradley founded the Advisory Board Company and Corporate Executive Board, two Washington-based consulting companies.
Early life and education
Bradley was born in Washington, D.C. and attended the Sidwell Friends School. His parents were devout Christian Scientists. He graduated from Swarthmore College and briefly interned in the White House during the presidency of Richard Nixon. He received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and was also a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines. Bradley earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.
The Advisory Board Company
In 1979 while only 26 years old, Bradley founded the Research Counsel of Washington, later renamed The Advisory Board Company. The purpose of the company, at least initially, was to do research on any question for any industry. In 1986, the company began doing special research for the health care industry, which eventually became the main focus of the Advisory Board Company.
In 1983, his company had begun advising other firms in the financial services industry. In 1997, this part of the business was spun off as the Corporate Executive Board. Both companies are now publicly traded, with the Advisory Board on the NASDAQ and CEB on the NYSE. Bradley reportedly earned over $300 million from their sale.
In 1997, Bradley made his first acquisition as a publisher, purchasing the National Journal. He hired Michael Kelly, a well-known journalist who had just been fired from The New Republic after frequently clashing with owner Martin Peretz. Kelly was known for his controversial criticisms of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, but he got along well with Bradley.
In 1999, Bradley purchased The Atlantic from publisher and real estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman for a price of $10 million. Bradley replaced the then current editor William Whitworth with Kelly. Bradley's strategy to improve the business model of The Atlantic, which had lost money for years, was to focus on improving editorial quality. Bradley doubled the newsroom budget of The Atlantic, allowing the magazine to embark on a hiring spree, offering contracts to 25 new writers. Kelly's first hire was to bring back James Fallows, one of the magazine's best-known journalists who had been hired away in 1996.
Bradley is also known for the great lengths he'll go to in order to lure writers to The Atlantic. To lure away Jeffrey Goldberg, a staff writer for The New Yorker, Bradley brought ponies to Goldberg's house one day to show Goldberg's three young children.
After originally vowing not to move The Atlantic from its home in Boston for over a year, Bradley created a controversy in 2005 by moving the offices to Washington, where his other enterprises are all headquartered. Several prominent members of The Atlantic, such as esteemed editor Cullen Murphy, left the magazine as a result of the move.
In 2014, Bradley personally led a team of volunteers trying to find five Americans kidnapped in the Syrian War: Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller and Theo Curtis. In 2011, another team led by him had released Clare Gillis, a freelancer for The Atlantic, captured by soldiers loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. While the search was not successful, Larry Wright wrote an article about a dinner at Bradley's Washington house during which the families of the hostages talked about them. To avoid a conflict of interest, Bradley directed Wright to publish on The Atlantic's competitor, The New Yorker.
Politically, Bradley considers himself a centrist, although he has also described himself as "a neocon guy" who was "dead certain about the rightness" of invading Iraq. In the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries he donated $4,300 to Hillary Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama and to Mitt Romney.
Work in the Philippines
In addition to publishing, Bradley works with the CityBridge Foundation (formerly the Advisory Board Foundation), which participates in education projects in the Philippines, where Bradley had been a Fulbright Scholar. Bradley's wife, Katherine Brittain Bradley, is the president.
- Scott Sherman (2002). "What makes a serious magazine soar?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Swanson, Carl (4 October 1999). "New Atlantic Guy David Bradley Joins Magazine Big Shots". observer.com. New York Observer. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "David Bradley bio". theatlantic.com. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- "Barbara Bradley Hagerty". NPR. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- "The Advisory Board Company history". advisoryboardcompany.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Corporate Executive Board overview". executiveboard.com. Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- New York Times, April 15, 2005, "Atlantic Monthly Leaving Boston in Move to Washington", retrieved Sept 26, 2009
- Howard Kurtz (2007-08-06). "The Atlantic's Owner Ponies Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Five Hostages, Lawrence Wright, July 6 2015, The New Yorker.
- How The New Yorker landed The Atlantic's hostage story, Dylan Byers, 24 June 2015, Politico.
- Annys Shin (2004-08-02). "Ideas, Money Aren't Enough". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Child Protection Unit - David Bradley.