Will Lewis, former CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will be the next CEO of The Washington Post.
The Post confirmed Lewis’ appointment in a brief statement Saturday night after it was first reported by The New York Times.
The Post statement included a comment from Mr. Lewis, who will begin the role on Jan. 2. “The Washington Post is a leading global media publisher, known for its 145-year history of unwavering journalism, and I am excited and honored to be at the helm as a media executive and former reporter,” he said.
In the statement, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of The Post, reaffirmed his commitment to the publication and called Lewis an “exceptional and tenacious industry executive.”
Bezos sent an email to The Post newsroom on Saturday night, a copy of which was shared with The Times, saying he had been drawn to the “love of journalism and passion for driving financial success.” ” by Lewis.
Lewis, 54, a British-born former journalist who was editor of The Daily Telegraph before becoming a news executive, has spent more than 15 years as a leader at major news organisations. Most recently, he co-founded The news movementa startup aimed at young news consumers.
Bezos appointed Lewis at a crucial time for the news organization. The Post, which is on track to lose $100 million this year, has struggled to grow its digital subscription business in the years since President Donald J. Trump left office.
The newsroom is also preparing to cover the 2024 presidential election, a vital story for a newspaper that prioritizes political reporting. Trump, a frequent critic of both Bezos and The Post, appears to play a prominent role in the race.
Fred Ryan, The Post’s former publisher and CEO, announced in June that he was stepping down after nearly 10 years on the job. He presided over a surge in digital subscriptions and an expansion of the newsroom. But in recent years, subscriber growth has lost momentum, falling to 2.5 million paid subscribers compared to about three million in 2020. The Post lost money last year, after years of profitability.
In the final years of his tenure, Ryan encountered frustration from many Post executives, who felt he was presiding over a stultifying corporate culture at the newspaper. He also clashed with Sally Buzbee, the executive editor, over a personnel issue, and her departure was seen within the newsroom as a victory for Ms. Buzbee.
Since Ryan’s departure, the company has been led by Patty Stonesifer, an Amazon board member and Bezos confidant. Stonesifer told the newsroom in June that she expected to be in the role for six months to a year while she searched for a permanent chief executive and promised there would be no layoffs.
But Stonesifer later admitted that his statement about job cuts had been “naïve,” and said in an email to the newsroom last month that traffic, subscription and advertising growth projections had been “overly optimistic.” ”. She told staff that as a result, The Post would eliminate about 240 jobs across the organization through a buyout program.
Lewis’ appointment comes after a months-long hiring process led by Stonesifer, who turned to recruiting firm Sucherman to evaluate candidates. In recent weeks, numerous senior industry figures have been contacted by either The Washington Post or Sucherman, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Those included Josh Steiner, a member of the board of directors of Bloomberg LP; Evan Smith, former executive editor of The Texas Tribune; Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic; Goli Sheikholeslami, executive director of Politico; and Craig Forman, former CEO of the McClatchy newspaper chain.
disk before reported that Lewis was a leading finalist to be CEO of The Washington Post.
A former reporter for The Financial Times, Lewis rose through the publishing ranks to become editor-in-chief of Telegraph Media Group, owner of The Daily Telegraph. In 2010, Lewis joined News UK, part of the empire founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
There, he was part of the executive team tasked with cleaning up a phone hacking and police bribery scandal that led to the closure of Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid.
After being named CEO of Dow Jones, the parent of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, in 2014, Lewis oversaw a period of growth in digital subscriptions. At the end of Lewis’ tenure in 2020, The Journal had more than two million digital subscribers, up from about 700,000 when it began.
At The Journal, Lewis adopted a personal touch in his interactions with the newsroom. She was known to approach some journalists with brief emails expressing her support for his work.
The News Movement, the new company he has run since 2021, posts videos about current events on popular social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube and has partnered with organizations like The Associated Press. The company has raised $15 million from backers, including British newspaper publisher National World, and recently acquired political news startup The Recount.
Mr. Lewis was knighted this year by King Charles III for “political and public service,” on the recommendation of Boris Johnson, the former British prime minister whom he had informally advised. Mr Lewis is also one of the suitors of The Telegraph Group, his former employer: said Bloomberg in September that it had secured financial backing.