Some very big news was announced last night: Om Malik broke it, Mike confirmed it, and the blogosphere is eating it up: Heather Harde, SVP of Mergers + Acquisitions for Fox Interactive Media, is soon to be TechCrunch's new CEO.
This is a brilliant move. Mike has a passion for entreprenurism, breaking great stories, and covering the marketplace (arguably of which Web 2.0 is only one player). He has also been forthright in his strategy with TechCrunch: growth by acquisition. But he can't do it all. Hence, have someone with the corporate background and experience take this part over, and run the business. And yes, it is very much a business in its current state.
Just two nights ago, during an informal meeting with a couple of my favorite NYC geeks, I found myself defending TechCrunch, and Mike. In a nutshell, I said "you don't have to like [Mike]. But you should have great respect for what he has done. He's built an empire in under two years' time."
Dave Winer, of course, says it best:
What started as a labor of love by my friend Mike Arrington, a man with a hidden gift for quickly grokking the value in a myriad of web projects, and a deep genuine passion for entrepreneurship, had become first a juggernaut, then a nascent empire, and now shows signs of becoming a for-real empire that harkens back to the heyday of Pat McGovern and Bill Ziff.
Hats off to Mike, and continued success with the growth of the TechCrunch Network.