Daisy Veerasingham appointed first woman CEO of The Associated Press

image.pngNew York: The Associated Press appointed Daisy Veerasingham, its executive vice president and chief operating officer, as the news cooperative’s president and CEO on Tuesday, setting her up to replace the retiring Gary Pruitt at the beginning of next year. She will become the first woman, first person of color and first person from outside of the United States to lead the AP in its 175-year history.

Veerasingham, 51, is a first-generation Briton of Sri Lankan descent. Her appointment speaks to the changing portrait of the AP, where 40% of the company’s revenue, double what it was 15 years ago, is now generated outside of the United States. She’ll be tasked with continuing to diversify income sources. The AP, caught in the same financial vise as most of the media industry, saw its revenue drop to $467 million in 2020, down more than 25% in a decade.

Veerasingham said she’s determined to maintain the AP as a source of fact-based, nonpartisan journalism, and to fight for freedom of the press and access to information. 

The AP’s board of directors appointed Veerasingham in a meeting last week. 

Steven R. Swartz, board chairman and president and CEO of Hearst, called her a proven leader with a deep understanding of how AP operates and a clear vision for the future. Veerasingham joined AP in 2004 as a sales director for AP Television News in London. She eventually became responsible for content licensing and marketing in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, leading the company’s expansion efforts.

She has also led the expansion of AP’s video business into a fully digital operation that can provide live video on a multichannel basis. 

Veerasingham worked in marketing jobs at LexisNexis and the Financial Times before joining AP. A trained lawyer, she has not worked as a journalist. (AP)

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