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David Bradley is the owner of Atlantic Media, which owns and operates several prominent media companies and services including The Atlantic, National Journal & The Hotline, Quartz, and Government Executive. Before his career as a publisher, Bradley founded the Advisory Board Company and Corporate Executive Board, two Washington-based consulting companies.

In 1979 while only 26 years old, Bradley founded the Research Counsel of Washington, later renamed The Advisory Board Company. The purpose of the company, at least initially, was to do research on any question for any industry. In 1986, the company began doing special research for the health care industry, which eventually became the main focus of the Advisory Board Company.  The Advisory Board Company merged with Optum for $2.58 billion.

In 1983, his company had begun advising other firms in the financial services industry. In 1997, this part of the business was spun off as the Corporate Executive Board. CEB went public in 1999 and was later acquired by Gartner Group for $2.6 billion.

He graduated from Swarthmore College. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines.