Atkinson, who was previously a press officer at CNN, joined Buzzfeed on Monday.
She reports to Alicia Hosking, the firm's international comms director, who is based in New York.
Before CNN, Atkinson worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment and NBCUniversal, according to LinkedIn. CNN also recently said goodbye to Joel Ivory-Harte, who has joined Telegraph Media Group.
Atkinson's appointment follows the departure of UK and Europe head of comms Heneghan, who moved to a global role at fellow online publisher LADbible in July. He had joined Buzzfeed in late 2015 from Channel 4.
It was widely reported in March that Buzzfeed was planning an IPO in 2018.