Sean Mills Peels From The Onion

By Steve Smith
01/30/2009

The Onion, the humor newspaper and online mecca for satire lovers, is losing its president. "It’s been a great run, but the time has come for a new challenge," Sean Mills told partners in an email message. Mills tells minonline he had been negotiating a departure from the company for a while, but did not offer any further explanation for the move. He says that he started at the brand in 2002, when there was a staff of 35, print distribution in four cities and 2 million unique visitors to the Web site each month. "Today we have newspapers in 10 cities, 8 million readers online and 150 employees, as well as a video network that gets over 2 million views each week," he said in a statement. In fact, next week Onion launches another Web video program, the Onion Sports Network.

The Onion satire newspaper was founded in 1988 by two University of Wisconsin juniors, who sold it to others a year later and published alternative weeklies on their own. Until The Onion hit the Web in 1996, it had a limited circulation in the upper Midwest. Arguably one of the first, if not the only, print publications to be fueled by a nationwide Web audience, The Onion brand has exended into DVD sales and content partnerships with major news organizations.