Will Lewis named CEO of The Washington Post

Will Lewis named CEO of The Washington Post

Will Lewis, former chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will be the next chief executive of The Washington Post.

The Post confirmed Mr. Lewis’s appointment in a brief statement on Saturday evening after it was first reported by The New York Times.

The Post’s statement included a comment from Mr Lewis, who will start the job on January 2. “The Washington Post is a leading global media publisher of record, known for unflinching journalism throughout its 145-year history, and I am thrilled and grateful to be at its helm as both a media executive and former reporter. ,” They said.

In the statement, Amazon founder and The Post owner Jeff Bezos reaffirmed his commitment to the publication, calling Mr. Lewis an “extraordinary, tenacious industry executive.”

Mr. Bezos sent an email to The Post’s newsroom on Saturday evening, a copy of which was shared with The Times, saying he was drawn to Mr. Lewis’s “love of journalism and passion for achieving financial success.” Were.

Mr Lewis, a 54-year-old former British-born journalist who was editor of The Daily Telegraph before becoming a news executive, has spent more than 15 years as a leader in major news organisations. Recently, he co-founded news movementA start-up for young news consumers.

Mr. Bezos has appointed Mr. Lewis at a critical time for the news organization. The Post, which is on pace to lose $100 million this year, is headed by President Donald J. It has struggled to grow its digital subscription business in the years since Trump left office.

The newsroom is also preparing to cover the 2024 presidential election, an important story for a newspaper that prioritizes political reporting. Mr Trump, a frequent critic of both Mr Bezos and The Post, is expected to play a major role in the race.

Fred Ryan, The Post’s previous publisher and chief executive, announced in June that he was stepping down after nearly 10 years in the position. He presided over an increase in digital subscriptions and an expansion of the newsroom. But in recent years, the pace of subscriber growth has slowed, falling to 2.5 million paying subscribers compared with nearly three million in 2020. After years of profitability, the Post lost money last year.

In the final years of his tenure, Mr. Ryan faced frustration among many Post executives who felt he was presiding over a degraded business culture at the newspaper. She also clashed with executive editor Sally Buzbee over personnel issues, and her exit was seen as a victory for Ms. Buzbee in the newsroom.

Since Mr Ryan’s departure, the company has been run by Patty Stonecipher, an Amazon board member and confidant of Mr Bezos. Ms Stonecipher told Newsroom in June that she expected to stay in the role for six months to a year as the search for a permanent chief executive got underway and promised there would be no layoffs.

But Ms. Stonecipher later acknowledged that her statement on job cuts was “naïve” and said in an email to Newsroom last month that projections for traffic, membership and advertising growth were “overly optimistic.” He told employees that as a result The Post would cut approximately 240 jobs across the organization through a buyout program.

Mr Lewis’s appointment follows a month-long recruitment process led by Ms Stonecipher, who used recruitment firm Sucherman to evaluate the candidates. In recent weeks, The Washington Post or Sucherman reached out to several top figures in the industry, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. These people included Josh Steiner, a member of the board of directors of Bloomberg LP; Evan Smith, former chief executive of The Texas Tribune; Nicholas Thompson, chief executive of The Atlantic; Goli Sheikholeslami, chief executive of Politico; and Craig Forman, former chief executive of the McClatchy newspaper chain.

cook first informed of Mr. Lewis was a finalist to become chief executive of the Washington Post.

Formerly a reporter for The Financial Times, Mr Lewis rose through the editing ranks to become editor-in-chief of Telegraph Media Group and owner of The Daily Telegraph. In 2010, Mr Lewis joined News UK, part of the empire founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

There, he was part of the executive team charged with cleaning up the phone-hacking and police bribery scandal that led to the closure of Mr Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid.

After being appointed chief executive of Dow Jones, parent of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, in 2014, Mr. Lewis oversaw a period of digital subscription growth. At the end of Mr. Lewis’s tenure in 2020, The Journal had more than two million digital subscribers, up from about 700,000 when he started.

At The Journal, Mr. Lewis brought a personal touch to his interactions with the newsroom. He was known to reach out to some journalists via brief emails to express support for their work.

The News Movement, the start-up he has run since 2021, publishes videos about current events on popular social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube and has partnered with organizations including The Associated Press. The company has raised $15 million from backers including newspaper publisher National World, and recently acquired political news start-up The Recount.

mr lewis was knighthood This year he was awarded the Medal of Honor to King Charles III for “political and public service”, on the recommendation of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he informally advised. Mr Lewis is one of the claimants for The Telegraph Group, his former employer: he told Bloomberg said in September that he planned to provide financial assistance.

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