The political journalism website Politico has named veteran investment banker and prominent Democrat donor Patrick Steel as the company’s new CEO.
Steel, 49, joins Politico from the investment bank FBR & Co, which he has managed since 2001. He replaces the site’s owner Roger Allbritton, who served as CEO since the sudden departure of Jim VandeHei in early 2016.
In a memo sent to Politico staff, Allbritton said that Steel “understands that the heart and soul—the power— of POLITICO rests on great, indispensable journalism and the global impact of our reporting.”
Allbritton is also a prominent Democratic party donor, raising questions about the future editorial direction of the site. Before joining FBR & Co, Albritton worked as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and donated money to Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.
However, Steel has rejected accusations of a potential political bias, claiming he “skews moderately politically,” and that the Trump administration has had positive effects on the economy.
“At the end of the day, I am a businessman and this administration has been very good for our business so far,” Steel said.
In his new role, Steel is expected to make the company more profitable after a year of internal streamlining, with several key executives and leading reporter Mike Allen leaving the company alongside VandeHei, who was accused of being wasteful with the company’s finances.
The news site, which was once considered to have no editorial bent, was a prominent anti-Trump outlet in the runup to 2016’s presidential election, publishing numerous hit pieces on his campaign. An investigation by Breitbart also found that many of the site’s leading editorial staff are registered Democrats.
Private emails released by Wikileaks showed Politico’s former Chief Political Correspondent, Glenn Thrush, who is now the White House Correspondent at The New York Times, asking Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta for approval on a story he wrote pertaining to her campaign.