Jeff Bezos has found his new Washington Post CEO in media magnate Will Lewis, the paper announced in a late Saturday statement.
“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,” Lewis said in the memo. “Leading this bold media brand means building on my commitment to championing high-quality journalism and safeguarding our democratic values, while growing The Post’s business and advancing its impact to the next generation and beyond.”
The search caps a five-month endeavor for Bezos, the Post’s owner. Publisher Fred Ryan announced in June he would step down, leaving Bezos associate Patty Stonesifer as interim CEO. Lewis’ appointment was first reported by The New York Times, while Puck first reported him as a final contender for the job.
“Ten years ago, I made a commitment to the future of The Washington Post, inspired by its ambitious and consequential journalism,” Bezos said in the statement. “Today, I stand confident in that future knowing it is in the hands of Will, an exceptional, tenacious industry executive whose background in fierce, award-winning journalism makes him the right leader at the right time. I also want to thank Patty Stonesifer for stepping in to lead The Post so ably over the past several months.”
A London native, Lewis is a journalist by trade, working in papers in both the U.K. and the U.S. He founded The News Movement, an online site delivering news catered to Generation Z, and he previously served as CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He was also the top editor at The Daily Telegraph, and he was previously a reporter at the Financial Times and The Mail on Sunday.
Lewis, who will start Jan. 2, will have to contend with a plethora of issues facing the paper. The Post is reported to lose about $100 million this year, its second straight year of losses after a profitable run during Donald Trump’s presidency. It has bled talent to competitors such as the Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, and it is currently facing its third job-cutting program in less than a year, seeking to cut 240 positions across the company through voluntary buyouts.
Still, Bezos appeared forward-looking in an internal email to Post staffers announcing Lewis’s appointment, which was obtained by The Daily Beast.
“I remain energized and excited by The Post’s future and have the utmost confidence in Will’s leadership and our continued success,” Bezos wrote.