The Washington Post Owner Jeff Bezos to Replace Publisher Katharine Weymouth

Katharine Weymouth

In a 9am email to staff this morning, The Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth announced her imminent departure as the paper’s publisher after 7 years. Beginning October 1, Fred Ryan, formerly with Allbritton Communications and POLITICO, will be publisher and CEO.

According to The Washington Post, its owner Jeff Bezos told Weymouth on August 18th that he had selected a new publisher.

In an interview with the outlet he’ll now lead, Ryan said that he does not have plans to replace executive editor Martin Baron or editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

The Washington Post was bought by Weymouth’s great grandfather in 1933 and sold to Bezos in August 2013. In her email, Weymouth said that she will offer Ryan and the Post support as an advisor through the end of 2014.

Weymouth’s note to staff after the jump.

From: <Weymouth>, Katharine
Date: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 9:00 AM
To: “Weymouth, Katharine”
Subject: Announcement
All –

The greatest honor of my life has been serving as publisher of The Post these past seven years, working with all of you.  Now, after 17 years at this great institution, it is time for me to explore other opportunities.

I make this announcement with mixed emotions. I am enormously excited about this new era at The Post, but I will miss all of you tremendously.

The Post will be in excellent hands.  Effective October 1, 2014, Fred Ryan, will become Publisher and CEO.  Fred is a seasoned and well-respected executive with a track record of success at the helm of Politico and Allbritton Communications.  He knows Washington, and he knows media.  Fred is excited to take the helm and to meet all of you.

Fred and I will work closely together to ensure a smooth and easy transition. I will remain available as an advisor to him and to The Post through the end of the year.

I want to take a moment to tell you how proud I am of the talent we have in this company – both in the newsroom and business operations.  I promised you when I started that it would never be boring. Promise kept.

I am tremendously proud of all that we have accomplished.  Our business model is strong. And under Marty Baron’s leadership, our journalism has never been better.  We have embarked on revelatory investigative projects while also giving our readers stories and videos that reflect the joy and humor in life. We have uncovered corruption, shown the real-world impact of economic upheaval, and provided unequaled coverage of the Obama administration’s first and now second terms.  We have shown courage in reporting on wars and unrest all over the world, and we exposed how the government’s anti-terrorism technology poses profound civil liberties issues for Americans. We have never forgotten our local community, highlighting issues of public safety and providing readers the information they need to be engaged citizens.  As a result, we have more readers today than ever.

We have made the transition to the digital era, and we’ve done it so successfully that in a time when many media companies seem positioned for retreat, we are positioned for opportunity. That’s something for all of us to take pride in, and it couldn’t have happened without every one of you.

I cannot mention or thank everyone who deserves my gratitude and who has contributed to our success.  I do want to acknowledge and thank the senior team.  Under Shailesh Prakash’s leadership, we have built an Engineering department with the skills necessary for the technological challenges and opportunities for today’s news organizations.  In addition:  Usha Chaudhary – our steady, thoughtful, unflappable CFO; Wayne Connell, who taught me that HR is not just about benefits but is about building and growing talent; Kris Coratti, who does everything from promoting our talent on radio and TV to devising the wonderful partnerships we have in the community; Gregg Fernandes, who makes sure papers get out every night in rain or snow; Jim Coley, who makes sure that they get printed every night with consistently high quality; Fred Hiatt, our thoughtful Editorial Page Editor, who is a consistent and brave advocate for human rights around the world; Jay Kennedy, who keeps us out of trouble, vets our stories and tirelessly works to get us access to documents that should be public; and Kevin Gentzel, who has built a world-class, innovative advertising sales team.  Finally, none of this could have happened without the strong and courageous guidance of Steve Hills on the business side.  Steve has been my right hand and has been instrumental in our success.

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.   There is simply no other news organization in the enviable position of The Washington Post – with unbeatable talent throughout and with an owner who has the resources, is extremely ambitious, and has the patience to invest and experiment.

I will miss you all.  The Post will always feel like a part of me.  I will read it every day in print and online.  And, like my uncle, I will be cheering from the sidelines.

Yours, Katharine