Axel Springer has tapped Goli Sheikholeslami to be the next CEO of Politico Media — the first major move the German media giant is making at Politico since its purchase last year of the Arlington, Va.-based news organization for roughly $1 billion.

Sheikholeslami joins Politico at a moment when its new owner has made explicit its ambitions for an amped-up presence in the United States and a desire to increase its pace of acquisitions. Axel Springer previously purchased Business Insider in 2015, which it has renamed Insider. The company also purchased a majority stake in the newsletter company Morning Brew.

Axel Springer is a Berlin-based media company that boasts a presence in more than 40 countries through brands such as Bild, Welt, Insider and now Politico. The company employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.

Sheikholeslami said her focus will be to take the 15-year-old company — which she called “a disruptive start-up that has excelled as it has grown” — into an “expansion phase” and move into new markets, even as Axel Springer has signaled its plans to invest more in Politico’s core U.S. and European operations, as well as those of the much newer tech-focused site Protocol.

Sheikholeslami is wrapping up a two-year tenure as the president and CEO of WNYC, New York’s flagship public radio operation. Before that, she was CEO of Chicago Public Media and held senior positions at The Washington Post, Condé Nast and Time Warner. Her time at WNYC was marred by staff defections and internal strife, some of which began before she joined the organization. The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists filed a complaint in May with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing her handpicked WNYC Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper of waging a “coordinated and aggressive campaign” against internal critics.

She will take the helm of Politico in February, according to a company memo reviewed by The Post. Under her purview is not only Politico but also Protocol.

Sheikholeslami is set to fill a position that was left vacant by investment banker and former Clinton administration official Patrick Steel, who had been the chief executive of Politico from 2017 to 2021. Before Steel, Politico’s previous owner, publisher and executive chairman Robert Allbritton, briefly held the CEO position, which he took over after the 2016 departure of Jim VandeHei, who left the company after an internal management dispute.

Politico was founded in 2007 by two former Washington Post journalists, John F. Harris and VandeHei. Mike Allen, another Post veteran, joined as chief political reporter and soon became its most recognizable name.

Politico quickly shook up the inside-the-Beltway media scene with its high-energy political scoops and intense attention to incremental moves in the nation’s capital. It expanded beyond its core congressional and lobbying coverage to launch several subscription-only products aimed at a professional audience that have helped support its business at a time when digital advertising revenue has cratered.

Since then, Politico has inspired several imitators, some born of its own talent. VandeHei and Allen left in early 2016 amid a very public breakup spurred by disagreements about Politico’s direction and launched Axios, which has become a competitor. Three other Politico veterans left the organization in early 2021 to launch their own straight-news, Capitol-focused site called Punchbowl.

Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, said in a statement that “Politico has got immense potential that we will build on to open a new chapter of accelerated growth. In Goli Sheikholeslami, we have found the perfect match for this mission. … We are convinced Goli and the strong management team will take Politico to the next level.”