She will be the first woman, the first person of color, and the first person from outside the United States to head the AP over its 175-year-old history.
Veerasingham, 51 years old, is a Briton of first generation, and of Sri Lankan heritage. Her appointment speaks to the changing face of the AP. 40% of the company’s revenue is generated now outside the United States, a double figure from 15 years ago.
She will be responsible for diversifying income sources. The AP was caught in the same financial bind as the rest of the media industry. In 2020, its revenue dropped to $467m, a drop of more than 25% in ten years.
Veerasingham stated that she is determined to keep the AP as a source for fact-based, nonpartisan journalism and to fight for freedom and access to information. Each day, the AP publishes approximately 2,000 news stories, 3,000 photos, and 200 videos, reaching more people than half of the world.
In an interview, she stated that these are core values of the AP since its founding 175 year ago. They are more important than ever today, I believe.
Pruitt (64), has been the leader of AP since 2012. Under his direction, AP has won six Pulitzer Prizes, two this year, and three other finalists in journalism's top award for 2021.
Veerasingham is currently helping him to identify a successor for Sally Buzbee, the AP's executive editors. This appointment should be made in a few months. Buzbee was named executive editor of The Washington Post this spring.
Pruitt stated, "I'm most proud that the journalism at AP excelled when we faced the challenges of market." "AP is financially strong and can look to the future with confidence, continuing to provide a foundational report to the world.
Veerasingham was appointed by the AP board of directors in a meeting last Wednesday. After two years as chief revenue officers, she was elected AP's executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Steven R. Swartz (board chairman, president, and CEO of Hearst) described her as a proven leader who has a deep understanding and vision for the future.
Veerasingham started her career at AP in 2004 when she was a sales director at AP Television News, London. As the company's leader in expansion, she was eventually responsible for content licensing, marketing, and Asia.
She also managed the transformation of AP's video operation into a fully-digital operation that can offer live video on a multichannel basis.