Thursday, July 18

Will Lewis Named C.E.O. of the Washington Post

Will Lewis, the former Dow Jones chief executive and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, will be the next chief executive of The Washington Post.

The Post confirmed Mr. Lewis’s appointment in a brief statement on Saturday evening after The New York Times first reported it.

The Post’s statement included a comment from Mr. Lewis, who will start in the job on Jan. 2. “The Washington Post is a premier global media publisher of record, known for its 145-year-old history of unflinching journalism, and I am thrilled and humbled to be at its helm as both a media executive and former reporter,” he said.

In the statement, Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and owner of The Post, reaffirmed his commitment to the publication, calling Mr. Lewis an “exceptional, tenacious industry executive.”

Mr. Bezos sent an email to The Post’s newsroom on Saturday evening, a copy of which was shared with The Times, saying that he had been drawn to Mr. Lewis’s “love of journalism and passion for driving financial success.”

Mr. Lewis, 54, a British-born former journalist who was the editor of The Daily Telegraph before becoming a news executive, has spent more than 15 years as a leader at major news organizations. Most recently, he co-founded The News Movement, a start-up aimed at young news consumers.

Mr. Bezos has appointed Mr. Lewis at a pivotal time for the news organization. The Post, which is on a pace to lose $100 million this year, has struggled to grow its digital subscription business in the years since President Donald J. Trump left office.

The newsroom is also gearing up to cover the 2024 presidential election, a vital story for a paper that prioritizes political reporting. Mr. Trump, a frequent critic of both Mr. Bezos and The Post, figures to play a prominent role in the race.

Fred Ryan, the previous publisher and chief executive at The Post, announced in June that he was stepping down after nearly 10 years in the role. He presided over a surge in digital subscriptions and an expansion of the newsroom. But in recent years, the subscriber growth lost momentum, dropping to 2.5 million paid subscribers compared with roughly three million in 2020. The Post lost money last year, after years of profitability.

In the waning years of his tenure, Mr. Ryan met with frustration among many Post executives, who felt he was presiding over a stultified business culture at the newspaper. He also clashed with Sally Buzbee, the executive editor, over a personnel issue, and his exit was viewed within the newsroom as a victory for Ms. Buzbee.

Since Mr. Ryan’s departure, the company has been run by Patty Stonesifer, a member of Amazon’s board and a confidante of Mr. Bezos. Ms. Stonesifer told the newsroom in June that she expected to be in the role for six months to a year as the search for a permanent chief executive was underway and promised that there would be no layoffs.

But Ms. Stonesifer later admitted that her statement on job cuts had been “naïve” and said in an email to the newsroom last month that projections for traffic, subscription and advertising growth had been “overly optimistic.” She told staff that as a result The Post would cut about 240 jobs across the organization through a buyout program.

The appointment of Mr. Lewis comes after a monthslong recruiting process run by Ms. Stonesifer, who tapped the recruiting firm Sucherman to evaluate candidates. In recent weeks, The Washington Post or Sucherman reached out to numerous top figures in the industry, according to several people familiar with the discussions. The people included Josh Steiner, a member of the board of directors at Bloomberg LP; Evan Smith, the former chief executive of The Texas Tribune; Nicholas Thompson, the chief executive of The Atlantic; Goli Sheikholeslami, the chief executive of Politico; and Craig Forman, a former chief executive of the McClatchy newspaper chain.

Puck earlier reported that Mr. Lewis was a leading finalist to be chief executive of The Washington Post.

Formerly a reporter for The Financial Times, Mr. Lewis rose through the editing ranks to become editor in chief of the Telegraph Media Group, owner of The Daily Telegraph. In 2010, Mr. Lewis joined News UK, part of the empire founded by the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

There, he was part of the executive team charged with cleaning up a phone-hacking and police bribery scandal that led to the closing of Mr. Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid.

After being appointed chief executive of Dow Jones, the parent of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, in 2014, Mr. Lewis oversaw a period of digital subscription growth. At the end of Mr. Lewis’s tenure in 2020, The Journal had more than two million digital subscribers, up from roughly 700,000 when he started.

At The Journal, Mr. Lewis adopted a personal touch to his interactions with the newsroom. He was known to reach out to some journalists with brief emails expressing support for their work.

The News Movement, the start-up he has run since 2021, publishes videos about current events on popular social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube and has partnered with organizations including The Associated Press. The company has raised $15 million from backers including the British newspaper publisher National World, and recently acquired the political news start-up The Recount.

Mr. Lewis was knighted this year by King Charles III for “political and public service,” on the recommendation of Boris Johnson, the former British prime minister whom he had informally advised. Mr. Lewis is also one of the suitors for The Telegraph Group, his former employer: He told Bloomberg in September that he had lined up financial backing.