Arianna Huffington’s loyal flack departs to hang up his own shingle

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Mario Ruiz and Arianna Huffington. ()
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Mario Ruiz, head of communications for The Huffington Post, is leaving the company to start his own agency after five years of doing P.R. for the website.

And, as is so often the case in these sorts of amicable partings between high-powered in-house public-relations types and their former firms, his first big client is The Huffington Post.

Arianna Huffington announced the news in an email to staff today, which was forwarded to Capital. Ruiz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ruiz has handled press for Huffington through five years of headlines, including her media site's meteoric rise, a huge round of financing and its final acquisition by AOL, which has its own (rather enormous) marketing and press department.

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You can read Huffington's full note below:

After five years at HuffPost, Mario is moving on to start his own agency – with the Huffington Post Media Group as his first client! When Oak was doing its due diligence for our second round of financing, they came back to us wondering how come they couldn’t find the details on our marketing budget. We told them it was because we didn’t have a marketing budget. Mario was our PR, Marketing, and Communications departments all rolled into one – a one-man-band who handled everything from getting HuffPosters on TV to press releases to pulling off memorable events like our pre-inauguration party in 2008 (voted the top DC social event of the year), our Convention Oasis, and our annual Game Changers fete. And that’s on top of fielding every press query – whether they came early in the morning or late on a weekend night. I’m proud of him for spreading his wings, and look forward to working together for many, many years to come. Arianna