David G. Bradley
David G. Bradley (born 1953) is the owner of the media source known as Atlantic Media, which owns and operates several prominent media companies and services including The Atlantic, National Journal. 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. As a youth he rode horses at Meadowbrook Stables, where he also worked as a groom, mucking out pony stalls. 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, a 26-year-old Bradley founded the Research Council 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 1983, his company had begun advising other firms in the financial services industry. In 1986, the company began doing special research for the health care industry, which eventually became the company's main focus.
Both companies became publicly traded, with the Advisory Board on NASDAQ and CEB on NYSE, and later acquired by Optum and Gartner, respectively. Bradley reportedly earned more than $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 $10 million. Bradley replaced 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 will go to in order to lure writers to The Atlantic. To hire Jeffrey Goldberg, a staff writer for The New Yorker, Bradley brought ponies to Goldberg's house 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 2012, Bradley launched Quartz, a business-news publication aimed at mobile-device users; he sold it in 2018 to Uzabase, a Japanese media company, for between $75 and $110 million.
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.
On 28 July 2017, Bradley sold his majority ownership of The Atlantic to Emerson Collective, which is an organization owned by multi-billionaire investor and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of former Apple Inc. chairman and CEO Steve Jobs), but with Bradley retaining a minority ownership share.
Politically, Bradley considers himself a centrist. He has contributed to the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries he donated $104,300 to Hillary Clinton, $102,300 to Barack Obama, and $69,000 to Mitt Romney.
Boards and philanthropy
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.
Bradley is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; his board memberships include the Council on Foreign Relations, KIPP DC, New America, Biden Cancer Initiative, Swarthmore College, American University of Beirut, and the Manila-based Child Protection Network. 
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