Gina Chua, a top editor at Reuters, will become the executive editor of a new media start-up helmed by Ben Smith and Justin Smith.
Ms. Chua’s hire was announced on Tuesday by Ben Smith, who left his role as a media columnist for The New York Times in January to start a global news organization with Justin Smith, the former chief executive of Bloomberg Media. Ben Smith will serve as editor in chief of the new outlet, with Ms. Chua reporting to him.
Since April, Ms. Chua has been the executive editor of Reuters and in charge of its editorial operations, which include 2,500 journalists around the world. She reports to Alessandra Galloni, the editor in chief. Reuters announced Ms. Chua’s departure from the company in a memo to staff on Tuesday.
Ms. Chua, 60, was previously the editor in chief of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and the Asia edition of The Wall Street Journal. She is also one of the most senior transgender journalists in the United States.
Ms. Chua said in an interview that the role with the still-unnamed start-up “came out of the blue.” She started discussions with the Smiths (who are not related) in late January.
“I’ve been certainly thinking about the issues that they want to solve,” she said, “this notion of an overburdened and undeserved audience and the importance of trying to find ways to get information to people, information they need, in a timely and not overwhelming manner.”
“Gina is an operational wizard at the highest level who has spent her career obsessed with fixing the way stories are told to consumers in the United States and across Asia,” Ben Smith said.
“Her career leading newsrooms in five countries over three decades, and her perspectives as a Singaporean educated in the Philippines and the U.S., and as an Asian trans woman, are vital to the global news organization we’re trying to build,” he added.
The Smiths have said they want to create an outlet that delivers unbiased journalism to a global audience. Axios reported recently that they were looking to raise $20 million to $30 million from investors.
The Smiths have so far announced two other hires for their company: Steve Clemons from The Hill as editor at large to run live journalism operations, and Caitlin Roman, formerly of The Athletic, who will serve as head of product.
Ben Smith said Ms. Chua will start in mid-April.