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Heather Harde New CEO of TechCrunch

Photo Credit: Scott Beale of Laughing Squid

Note: see below for live updates from Twitter…

Om Malik broke the news, Michael Arrington also confirmed it yesterday.

Heather Harde senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Fox Interactive Media has joined TechCrunch as its new CEO.

Per Arrington, “I have the pleasure of confirming the rumors Heather Harde, currently the SVP of Mergers and Acquisitions at Fox Interactive Media, will start her new job as the CEO of the TechCrunch Network (and my boss) by the end of the month.”

As one can imagine, there must be more to the story than simply running the affairs of TechCrunch – other than editorial. Harde managed a $2 billion budget and was charged with strategic acquisitions for Fox Interactive and was with the company for ten years. So are there acquisitions or investments in TechCrunch’s future? Perhaps a new branch – TechCrunch Ventures?

It’s already widely known that Mike has stakes in several startups, and isn’t terribly concerned with editorial objectivity for covering these companies.

While there are rumors that Heather might explore media acquisitions to grow the TechCrunch empire, I question whether or not the return will be as great as other “acquisitions” or potentially early seed financing for up-and-coming Web 2.0 companies.

Just think about how much it must have cost to bring her on board (well, and to keep her there). Perhaps she joins Keith Teare as the third share holder of TechCrunch.

Arrington continues, “There is a lot for her to do. She will run every aspect of our business other than editorial, which I’ll be focusing on for now. Heather’s job will be to leverage the opportunities that we have sometimes let slip by, and to manage our organic and acquisition growth going forward.”

According to Ben Metcalfe, “Many are speculating that TechCrunch will expand its media empire, like Gawker Media and GigaOmniMedia, into new topic genres. However this still seems like relative peanuts for someone like Heather and so I think TechCrunch will be getting into the Venture Capital game.”

I agree. If this were the case (which it might be anyway through organic growth), then Heather’s resume might be a bit over qualified. Ben pointed out that Tim O’Reilly, Mr. Web 2.0, recently launched AlphaTech Ventures and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Mike is sharp, connected, worshiped, and ripe with opportunity to take TechCrunch into an entirely new level of influence and financial stature – while solidifying an influential future post boom.

Either way, it’s a huge move for TechCrunch. I look forward to what’s next.

For those looking for additional information, check Techmeme 1, 2, 3

Updates from twitter:

Scobleizer @briansolis: TechCrunch is going big with its new CEO. I’ve met her and she’s the real deal.

Congrats to arrington on new ceo @ techcrunch! Let’s go big baby!!!

Scobleizer @JasonCalacanis: what would you do if you were CEO of TechCrunch?

JasonCalacanis @Scoble: a) I would partner with Calacanis 4 a conference b) I would launch 3 subscription b2b/vertical blogs/newsletters for $2,000 a year

JasonCalacanis @Scoble: Doing those two things would give you three revenue streams–which will protect you when the recession comes in Q4/Q1
JasonCalacanis @scoble: TechCrunch could have 500-1,500 paid subs in 1year for a highend newsletter/research product. @$2k a seat that’s real money

Scobleizer @briansolis: what would I do if I were CEO of TechCrunch? Hire Jason as COO. 🙂 Seriously, extend the TechCrunch brand via video

steverubel @jasoncalacanis Should Nick Denton buy Techrcunch?

Scobleizer @briansolis: get out of Web 2 niche and into RIA niche (hire Ryan Stewart, etc) and other tech niches. Get outside of valley more

steverubel @briansolis Techcrunch should focus on building new revenue streams that will withstand an ad recession, particularly as they add headcount.

steverubel Techcrunch also needs someone who is savvy about Madison Avenue, ideally with a presence here in NY. They need to swim upstream.

JasonCalacanis steverubel asks: Should NickDenton buy Techrcunch? Jason says: he can’t afford it. Look for techcrunch to buy cnet in 2 years


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