paidContent Founder Rafat Ali Is Leaving

Rafat Ali, founding editor and publisher of important digital-media site paidContent, is leaving the company in July, AllThingsDigital reports.

Ali founded paidContent in 2002, then sold its parent company, ContentNext, to the Guardian Media Group in July of 2008. The deal could have been worth as much as $30 million, but is probably closer to $12 million, according to AllThingsDigital. So far, it’s not certain who will take Ali’s place.

UPDATE: ContentNext managing editor Ernie Sander will assume a larger role in the company in conjunction with the departure, and co-editor Staci Kramer will remain with the company, the Guardian said in a statement.

UPDATE 2: Ali offers his own perspective on his departure here.

Read the Guardian’s announcement after the jump.

Guardian News & Media and ContentNext today announced that ContentNext Founder and Editor Rafat Ali will be leaving the company at the beginning of July. Rafat Ali started paidContent as a blog in 2002, and later added three other sites,, mocoNews and contentSutra, before the business was purchased by Guardian News & Media in 2008. ContentNext now has some 600,000 unique users and its websites, with their blend of news and analysis, are a must read for senior executives in the media, entertainment, publishing, advertising, mobile, marketing and technology sectors.

Tim Brooks, Managing Director of Guardian News & Media, said: “As anyone who follows the company and reads our sites knows, Rafat has done an amazing job of building ContentNext from the ground up and we wish him every success in the future.”

Ernie Sander, who has been the managing editor at ContentNext for the past 18 months, will assume a wider strategic role. Co-editor Staci Kramer, Rafat’s first hire at the company, will continue to be a thought leader on and off the site.