CEO, The Atlantic
Nicholas Thompson is CEO of The Atlantic and former editor-in-chief of WIRED. His bold, brilliant takes on the complex relationship between ethics, tech, business, politics, and society continuously shape the nation’s understanding of the world around them. In new talks, he blueprints what life will look like after COVID—how privacy, labor, business, and human connection will be irrevocably altered, and how individuals and organizations can poise themselves to thrive.
As the former editor-in-chief of WIRED, Nicholas Thompson occupied one of the most prestigious positions in the world of technology—staking out a bold, optimistic vision for all of our digital futures. From artificial intelligence to entertainment, privacy to social media, ethics to war, Thompson led the news cycle in this space for years, and his well-informed talks reflect that: he champions the ways tech can enhance our lives, both as a quick-witted, brilliant keynote speaker, as well as a charming and provocative host. During Thompson’s time at WIRED, digital subscriptions rose by roughly 300 percent, and he helped launch the Get Wired app and podcast, as well as the magazine’s fast-growing affiliate-revenue business and its annual WIRED25 event. His ground-breaking investigative reporting on Facebook for the magazine was a finalist for a 2020 Loeb Award. Most recently, Thompson was appointed as CEO of The Atlantic—a magazine that has prided itself on challenging assumptions and pursuing truth for the last 160 years: “Nick is singular; we’ve seen no one like him. As to leading and supporting Atlantic strategy, Nick brings a surround-sound coverage of relevant experience. Having been an editor, he is committed to the undergirding tenets of our work––superior editorial standards and complete editorial independence.”
Thompson served previously as a senior editor at WIRED from 2005–2010. There, he edited both National Magazine Award-nominated writing and “The Great Escape,” the story that became the feature film Argo. Thompson then played a pivotal role with The New Yorker—first as senior editor, then as editor of the magazine’s digital platform, where he helped re-design the website, launch the New Yorker app, spark an eight-fold increase in monthly readers, and quadruple the number of new digital subscribers each month (based on his editorial focus on offering loyalty to writers, diversifying the magazine’s social media presence, and publishing “more, better stories”). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed biography The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.
Earlier in his career, Thompson worked as a Senior Editor at Legal Affairs, as an editor at the Washington Monthly, and co-founded The Atavist, the National Magazine Award-winning publishing company which he sold to WordPress. He appears regularly on CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News, and is a contributor to the network. With a massive and vigilant following on social media, Thompson was named by LinkedIn as #4 on their 2018 list of top influencers, just behind Melinda Gates and one spot ahead of Justin Trudeau. He earned the 21st Century Leader Award from The National Committee on American Foreign Policy, was a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Thompson graduated from Stanford University, where he was a United States Truman Scholar. He is also an accomplished runner and is currently the #23 ranked master’s marathon runner in the world.