Fred Ryan announced in a memo to staffers on Monday that he will be stepping down as publisher of the Washington Post.
Since the Washington Post was bought by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Ryan served as the publisher and chief executive for the American daily newspaper for the better part of a decade.
On Monday, Ryan announced that he will stay on in his current role in August and will then leave the company to lead the newly formed nonpartisan Center on Public Civility that is being launched by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
Ryan served as former President Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff following the latter’s two presidential terms.
“Nine years ago, I was honored to be selected by Jeff Bezos to be Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post,” Ryan’s memo read. “Working with Jeff and the exceptional team at The Post has been an incredible experience and enormously gratifying.”
Last December, Ryan disclosed layoff plans at an unruly town hall meeting. He left the room as concerned employers shouted questions and later blamed the cuts to the staff on “worsening economic conditions.”
In his memo, Ryan acknowledged that he has a “deep and growing concern about the decline in civility and respectful dialogue in our political process, on social media platforms and more broadly across our society.”
“Many of us can recall an era when people could disagree without being disagreeable,” wrote Ryan. “Political leaders on opposite sides of the aisle could find common ground for the good of the country. Today, the decline in civility has become a toxic and corrosive force that threatens our social interactions and weakens the underpinnings of our democracy. I feel a strong sense of urgency about this issue.”
In the meantime, Patty Stonesifer has been appointed interim CEO of the Washington Post.