David G. Bradley

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David G. Bradley (born 1953)[1] 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.[2] 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[edit]

Bradley was born in Washington, D.C.,[3] and attended the Sidwell Friends School. His parents were devout Christian Scientists.[1] As a youth he rode horses at Meadowbrook Stables, where he also worked as a groom, mucking out pony stalls.[4] 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.[3] Bradley earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.[2]

Bradley is brother to Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR Religion Correspondent and author of Fingerprints of God: In Search of the Science of Spirituality.[5]

The Advisory Board Company[edit]

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.[6]

In 1997, the health-care portion of the business was spun off as the Corporate Executive Board.[7]

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.[1]


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.[2] 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.[8] 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.[1]

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.[9]

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.[9]

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 2014, Bradley 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.[10] While the search was not successful, Larry Wright wrote an article[10] 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.[11]

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.[12][13]


Politically, Bradley considers himself a centrist. He has contributed to the Democratic and Republican parties.[1] 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.[9]

Boards and philanthropy[edit]

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.[14] Bradley's wife, Katherine Brittain Bradley, is the president.

Bradley established the Child Protection Unit (CPU)[15] at the Philippine General Hospital, and was a professor at the University of the City of Manila (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila).

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. [16]


[1] [3] [6] [7] [9] [14]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Scott Sherman (2002). "What makes a serious magazine soar?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  2. ^ a b c Swanson, Carl (4 October 1999). "New Atlantic Guy David Bradley Joins Magazine Big Shots". observer.com. New York Observer. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "David Bradley bio". theatlantic.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  4. ^ https://www.washingtonian.com/2012/03/21/what-made-me-the-atlantics-david-bradley/
  5. ^ "Barbara Bradley Hagerty". NPR. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  6. ^ a b "The Advisory Board Company history". advisoryboardcompany.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  7. ^ a b "Corporate Executive Board overview". executiveboard.com. Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  8. ^ New York Times, April 15, 2005, "Atlantic Monthly Leaving Boston in Move to Washington", retrieved Sept 26, 2009
  9. ^ a b c d Howard Kurtz (2007-08-06). "The Atlantic's Owner Ponies Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  10. ^ a b Five Hostages, Lawrence Wright, July 6, 2015, The New Yorker.
  11. ^ How The New Yorker landed The Atlantic's hostage story, Dylan Byers, 24 June 2015, Politico.
  12. ^ White, Gillian B. (28 July 2017). "Emerson Collective Acquires Majority Stake in The Atlantic". The Atlantic. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  13. ^ Halper, Daniel. "Key Dem Donor Takes Over 'Country's Most Important' Journalistic Institution". date=28 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  14. ^ a b Annys Shin (2004-08-02). "Ideas, Money Aren't Enough". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  15. ^ Child Protection Unit - David Bradley.
  16. ^ "Council of Foreign Relations"

Further reading[edit]