Katharine Weymouth leaves Washington Post

The Washington Post

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth is leaving the paper.

Former Allbritton Communications Company President Fred Ryan will replace her. A Post news alert says owner Jeff Bezos made the switch; Bezos declined to comment to the paper.

Ryan told the Post’s Craig Timberg he plans to retain Executive Editor Marty Baron and Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt.

Here’s Weymouth’s memo to staff:

All -

The greatest honor of my life has been serving as publisher of The Post these past seven years, working with all of you. Now, after 17 years at this great institution, it is time for me to explore other opportunities.

I make this announcement with mixed emotions. I am enormously excited about this new era at The Post, but I will miss all of you tremendously.

The Post will be in excellent hands. Effective October 1, 2014, Fred Ryan, will become Publisher and CEO. Fred is a seasoned and well-respected executive with a track record of success at the helm of Politico and Allbritton Communications. He knows Washington, and he knows media. Fred is excited to take the helm and to meet all of you.

Fred and I will work closely together to ensure a smooth and easy transition. I will remain available as an advisor to him and to The Post through the end of the year.

I want to take a moment to tell you how proud I am of the talent we have in this company – both in the newsroom and business operations. I promised you when I started that it would never be boring. Promise kept.

I am tremendously proud of all that we have accomplished. Our business model is strong. And under Marty Baron’s leadership, our journalism has never been better. We have embarked on revelatory investigative projects while also giving our readers stories and videos that reflect the joy and humor in life. We have uncovered corruption, shown the real-world impact of economic upheaval, and provided unequaled coverage of the Obama administration’s first and now second terms. We have shown courage in reporting on wars and unrest all over the world, and we exposed how the government’s anti-terrorism technology poses profound civil liberties issues for Americans. We have never forgotten our local community, highlighting issues of public safety and providing readers the information they need to be engaged citizens. As a result, we have more readers today than ever.

We have made the transition to the digital era, and we’ve done it so successfully that in a time when many media companies seem positioned for retreat, we are positioned for opportunity. That’s something for all of us to take pride in, and it couldn’t have happened without every one of you.

I cannot mention or thank everyone who deserves my gratitude and who has contributed to our success. I do want to acknowledge and thank the senior team. Under Shailesh Prakash’s leadership, we have built an Engineering department with the skills necessary for the technological challenges and opportunities for today’s news organizations. In addition: Usha Chaudhary – our steady, thoughtful, unflappable CFO; Wayne Connell, who taught me that HR is not just about benefits but is about building and growing talent; Kris Coratti, who does everything from promoting our talent on radio and TV to devising the wonderful partnerships we have in the community; Gregg Fernandes, who makes sure papers get out every night in rain or snow; Jim Coley, who makes sure that they get printed every night with consistently high quality; Fred Hiatt, our thoughtful Editorial Page Editor, who is a consistent and brave advocate for human rights around the world; Jay Kennedy, who keeps us out of trouble, vets our stories and tirelessly works to get us access to documents that should be public; and Kevin Gentzel, who has built a world-class, innovative advertising sales team. Finally, none of this could have happened without the strong and courageous guidance of Steve Hills on the business side. Steve has been my right hand and has been instrumental in our success.

Now it is time for new leadership. With Jeff Bezos as our new owner, you are already seeing an infusion of energy and ideas. This is just the beginning of a wonderful new chapter for The Post. There is simply no other news organization in the enviable position of The Washington Post – with unbeatable talent throughout and with an owner who has the resources, is extremely ambitious, and has the patience to invest and experiment.

I will miss you all. The Post will always feel like a part of me. I will read it every day in print and online. And, like my uncle, I will be cheering from the sidelines.

Yours, Katharine

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  • Amanda Bennett

    I hope everyone will pause a moment to celebrate the publishership ofKatharine Weymouth. She shepherded the Washington Post through some of its darkest, most difficult days. She did so with courage, strength and generosity of spirit. The decisions she had to make were often painful, unpleasant and difficult. She made them unflinchingly and with courage — often even when it meant that she herself had to shoulder the burden of having these choices made on her watch. Just as I hope that people everywhere recognize the unselfishness of Don Graham in giving up the paper he loved and where he spent his life to put it in a safer place, so too I hope that everyone — in the media business, in all business, and everyone who values the contributions of a free press — will also stop and celebrate the total unselfishness of Katharine Weymouth. For it was she who looked unblinkingly at the future of the paper and realized that — whatever it would mean for her future — this needed to be done, for the sake of the paper itself. It was she who did not walk away, but stayed in place under a new and unfamiliar boss, making the best decisions for the paper and for the strategies of a new owner and new circumstances. I know how much new owner Jeff Bezos has benefited from her steadfastness. I know how much new publisher Fred Ryan will benefit from the team she assembled and the example she has set. And I know how much Don Graham has leaned on her, respected her and admired her. I too admire her more than I can say. I hope that all of you who do too will join with me in celebrating her past and anticipating her future.