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Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan Steps Down After 9 Years as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach' to Save Struggling Paper

WaPo Publisher Steps Down as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach'
Source: Washington Post; Mega

Jun. 12 2023, Published 3:08 p.m. ET

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Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan is leaving the company after nine years, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Ryan announced the sudden decision via a memo he sent to staffers on Monday morning.

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WaPo Publisher Steps Down as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach'
Source: Washington Post

The 68-year-old media proprietor was installed as publisher and CEO by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos when Bezos bought the company in September 2013.

Ryan, a former Reagan administration official, said in the memo that he is leaving to lead the nonpartisan Center on Public Civility that is being launched by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

WaPo Publisher Steps Down as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach'
Source: Mega

He also cited his “deep and growing concern about the decline in civility and respectful dialogue in our political process, on social media platforms, and more broadly across our society” as another reason for his sudden departure.

Ryan will reportedly remain the publisher until August 1.

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Meanwhile, Bezos said in his own memo that his “longtime friend and colleague Patty Stonesifer”- a former Microsoft executive and the founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – “will join The Post [Monday] as interim CEO.”

Bezos has reportedly grown increasingly more involved in the Post’s inner workings in recent months, according to insiders at the company.

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WaPo Publisher Steps Down as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach'
Source: Mega

He has reportedly held several Zoom meetings with top leaders like Ryan, executive editor Sally Buzbee, managing editor Justin Bank, chief financial officer Steve Gibson, and editorial page editor David Shipley.

These meetings, which one Post insider said occur roughly every two weeks, have focused on the paper’s business and technology – particularly its digital strategy, product, and audience.

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WaPo Publisher Steps Down as Jeff Bezos Takes More 'Hands-on Approach'
Source: Mega

Bezos's increased involvement comes after his surprise visit to the Post headquarters in January when he met with Ryan, Buzbee, top editors Cameron Barr, Matea Gold, Lori Montgomery, Phil Rucker, Krissah Thompson, and political reporter Josh Dawsey.

Morale at the Post was said to have lifted in May after the paper won three Pulitzer Prizes, including for national reporting and feature writing – however, the company still faces serious obstacles regarding concerns about its digital subscriptions and increased anxiety about internet traffic.

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