The Washington Post, which is now owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced today that effective October 1st, it is replacing Publisher Katharine Weymouth with Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., a former Reagan administration official who was part of the founding leadership team of Politico.
Weymouth’s departure brings to a close the more than eight decade relationship that the Graham family had with the newspaper. Weymouth’s great-grandfather, Eugene Meyer, bought the Post in 1933 and the family maintained ownership until last year, when they sold the money-losing paper for $250 million to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Ryan, 59, is an attorney who rose quickly in the Reagan administration and was a key leader in getting his presidential library built in California, along with a number of other key initiatives after Reagan left office in 1989.
Ryan called the Post “a world-class news organization,” and said in an interview on Monday that the paper would continue to implement Bezo’s “growth strategy” to expand the Post’s reach and audience.
While the printed newspaper is still important to Bezos’ strategy, he is far more interested in expanding the digital side of the business. That is where many of the readers are, andl, hopefully for him, advertisers will be in the near future.
Conservatives shouldn’t take Ryan’s appointment as a sign that Bezos is making a right turn at the liberal newspaper, because the main role of the publisher is to deal with the business side, not the editorial side. That remains firmly in the hands of executive editor Marty Baron.
Still, however, the appointment of a Republican to such an important position at the Post probably has the late Kay Graham spinning in her grave.
Read Weymouth’s farewell note here.