Frederick J. Ryan Jr. named as new publisher for Washington Post

The departure of Katharine Weymouth marks the end of 81 years of Graham leadership at the Washington Post.
By Aileen Graef  |  Sept. 2, 2014 at 11:03 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The Washington Post announced Tuesday they will be replacing Katharine Weymouth and naming Frederick J. Ryan Jr. as the new publisher for the paper.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and owner of the Washington Post, chose Ryan, a former Reagan administration official and co-founder of Politico, a political news outlet that competes with the Post in Washington coverage.

Politico rose in the digital world quickly after its launch in 2007. Bezos has stated his intent to bring the Post into the digital realm to compete with other online publications.

Ryan's past as an official under the Reagan administration has some worried his political lean will affect the newspaper's editorial page. Ryan said he plans to let executive editor Martin Baron maintain editorial control alongside Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor. He said he will focus on "growth strategy."

"You don't shrink your way to success," said Ryan. "The Post is on the move. There's no question about that."

Weymouth was named publisher in 2008 and was faced with bringing the struggling paper into the digital age while cutting staff as profits fell and budgets tightened. She will stay on as an adviser until the end of the year.

"Now it is time for new leadership. With Jeff Bezos as our new owner, you are already seeing an infusion of energy and ideas. This is just the beginning of a wonderful new chapter for the Post," said Weymouth, adding her tenure at the Post is the "greatest honor of my life."

Bezos praised Weymouth's leadership and expressed his gratitude for her work.

"I am so grateful to Katharine for agreeing to stay on as publisher this past year. She has successfully led many new initiatives and assured that the first ownership change of this great institution in eighty years has been done smoothly and without skipping a beat," he said in the formal announcement.

The departure of Weymouth marks the end of 81 years of Graham leadership at the Washington Post. Weymouth's great-grandfather, Eugene Meyer, bought the Washington Post at a bankruptcy auction in 1933, beginning the paper's rise to national recognition and profitability. Meyer left the paper to his son-in-law Philip Graham. After Graham's suicide, Meyer's daughter Katharine Graham took control of the paper and oversaw some of the Post's most noted moments, including the Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the Watergate scandal by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

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