Fred Ryan, the Washington Post’s CEO and publisher, announced he is stepping down from the paper in an internal memo sent to staff.
Ryan said he has a new job with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s nonpartisan Center on Public Civility. He had previously served as an official in the Reagan administration and as chairman of the foundation. He also was the founder and CEO of of Politico.
“In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to spending time with all of my friends and colleagues across The Post to convey my deep appreciation for many impressive contributions to our success,” Ryan wrote, adding that he would remain as publisher until August 1.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who owns the paper, said his friend Patty Stonesifer, the founding CEO of the Gates Foundation and director of the Amazon board, has been appointed interim CEO of The Post.
Bezos, who purchased the Post in 2014 and named Ryan as CEO in an effort to better digitize the newsroom, also sent a rare email to the paper’s staff confirming Ryan’s departure.
“Fred has led The Post through a period of innovation, journalistic excellence, and growth,” Bezos wrote. “His focus on the intersection of journalism and technology has been of great benefit to readers and has laid the foundation for the future growth.”
Ryan faced internal criticism last year after announcing a series of layoffs and then not immediately addressing concerns of Post staffers.
But in an interview with the Post, he said that his departure “has nothing to do” with the difficult media environment he had been navigating the paper through.
Instead, as he wrote in his memo, he decided to leave the Post to lead the nonpartisan center as he had a “deep and growing about the decline in civility and respectful dialogue” in politics and social media.