Fred Ryan, chief executive and publisher for The Washington Post, to soon resign for new position at Reagan Presidential Foundation

June 13, 2023
Ben Marquis

Fred Ryan, the chief executive and publisher of The Washington Post for the past nearly 10 years, will resign from those roles in the coming months, according to Breitbart.

Ryan, who previously served in the Reagan administration, will soon take on the role of leading the newly created Center on Public Civility at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

He will be replaced immediately as chief executive on an interim basis by Patty Stonesifer, a longtime friend and colleague of the newspaper's owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who will help lead a search for a permanent replacement while Ryan will ostensibly help ease the transition while he continues in his role as publisher until he leaves in August.

An "uneven track record" as head of newspaper

The New York Times reported Monday on the significant leadership change at the Post that has Ryan leaving following a tumultuous near-decade in which he took the paper to unprecedented heights during the Trump years but has since been flagging and losing the support of employees.

When Ryan was first hired after Bezos bought the Post in 2013, it only had around 35,000 digital subscribers -- a number that grew to more than 3 million by 2020 but has since declined to around 2.5 million.

The Times noted that, as far as memos released by Ryan and Bezos were concerned, everything was fine with regard to Ryan's near-decade of leadership, but the outlet noted that Ryan had an "uneven track record" at the Post that included growing tension with other top executives and reporters, some of whom fled for other publications, as well as layoffs and the shutting down of entire sections of the newsroom.

Indeed, it was noted that many employees of the Post were celebrating the news of Ryan's impending departure and expressing optimism for what would come next under new leadership.

New interim chief executive anticipates serving for six months to a year

The Post itself reported that Ryan issued a memo to employees that said "Together, we have accomplished one of the most extraordinary transformations in modern media history," in that the publication had "evolved from a primarily local print newspaper to become a global digital publication."

Bezos also issued a memo to staffers that expressed how "deeply grateful" he was to Ryan for his incessant focus on "the intersection of journalism and technology."

As for Ryan's interim replacement, Stonesifer, she directly addressed the Post's newsroom on Monday and announced that she anticipated helming the newspaper for "as short as six months, or it could be longer," with her primary focus being on making sure that "the team and the culture are in place for the decade ahead."

Bezos will reportedly get more "hands-on" in managing the paper

Vanity Fair reported that coinciding with the exit of Ryan were indications that Bezos will be taking more of a "hands-on approach" to the newspaper he first purchased in 2013, though he has always been involved to an extent.

However, in recent weeks and months, Bezos has been "reaching beyond Fred" to interact more with other executives and even reporters and staffers in the newsroom and has shown increased interest and involvement in both the paper's day-to-day management and future plans.

The outlet further noted that, according to its sources at the Post, Stonesifer immediately "totally won over the newsroom" as its new chief executive and that hardly anyone was unhappy with the change that had been made.

Of course, as Breitbart noted, given the Post's overtly biased "journalism" over the past decade, particularly during the Trump years, it would be unwise for anybody on the right to get too excited in thinking these changes will lead to the paper being fair and balanced or any less of a cheerleader for the left and stenographer for Democrats and the Biden administration going forward.

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