Jeff Bezos-Backed Washington Post Gets New CEO, Former Wall Street Journal Veteran William Lewis Takes Rein

In a strategic move to course-correct amid operational downturns, The Washington Post has announced the appointment of William Lewis as its new CEO and publisher, effective January 2, 2024. 

Lewis, a prominent media figure and previous head of Dow Jones, is taking the reins following voluntary staff reductions and a notable dip in digital subscribers at the Post. 

The company last month announced voluntary buyouts to reduce its headcount by 240.

Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos announced the appointment in an email to staff shortly after The New York Times published the news.

Lewis, known for his tenure at the Wall Street Journal and recent venture targeting news delivery to the younger demographic, steps into the role as the Post grapples with financial sustainability issues. 

Under his leadership, the organization aims to revitalize its readership and financial performance after it revealed a plan last month to slash its headcount to manage costs.

The appointment follows the departure of Fred Ryan, who left in June after a challenging period of stagnation despite successfully building the Post's digital footprint. 

Patty Stonesifer, the former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, managed the interim period. 

The company's subscriber count has suffered a steep decline, from a Trump-era peak to a current standing of 2.5 million digital subscribers, contrasting sharply with the burgeoning 9.2 million maintained by The New York Times.

In July, The Times reported that The Post is on track to lose about $100 million this year.

His appointment comes shortly after Jeff Bezos, the company's owner, told the newsroom that he wanted the Washington Post to return to profitability, according to a recent note to staff that The Wall Street Journal reviewed. 

Lewis said in a news release that he was "thrilled and humbled to be at its helm as both a media executive and former reporter."

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