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Veteran British media executive Sir Will Lewis has been appointed as the new publisher and chief executive of The Washington Post as the newspaper group owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revives its fortunes.
Lewis54, has held several high-profile jobs in the media industry, including editor of the Daily Telegraph, publisher of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and chief executive of Dow Jones.
Most recently, he co-founded News Movement, an organization that seeks to provide reliable information on sites with a large youth audience, such as TikTok and YouTube.
The former Financial Times journalist was also in the running to buy the Daily Telegraph, which went up for sale last month. In September, Lewis told Bloomberg that he had Finance in a row For bids for paper. He plans to withdraw from the auction, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Lewis will begin his new role at The Washington Post on Jan. 2, taking over from interim chief executive Patty Stonecipher. American Spreadsheet has been searching for a new permanent leader since Fred Ryan, chief executive and publisher for nearly a decade, left this summer.
In a statement, Bezos called Lewis “an exceptional, committed industry executive whose rigorous, award-winning journalism background makes him the right leader at the right time.”
Lewis said: “Leading this bold media brand is building on my commitment to supporting high-quality journalism and protecting our democratic values.”
By joining the Washington Post, Lewis joins the ranks of British executives at the helm of high-profile American media houses. Earlier this year, former BBC director-general Mark Thompson became chief executive of cable TV news channel CNN, while Emma Tucker was appointed editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal in December last year.
After experiencing a surge in subscriptions during Donald Trump’s presidency, The Washington Post has seen growth decline recently. Last month, Stonecipher joined the board at Amazon. Told the staff Forecasts for growth in advertising, internet traffic and subscriptions were “highly optimistic”, and it announced plans to reduce the number of employees by around 10 percent through voluntary redundancies.
Lewis, an adviser to former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was knighted earlier this year for his “political and public service”.
During his tenure as editor, Lewis and the Telegraph won several awards for their investigations into the misuse of expenses by members of the British Parliament.
Shortly after Lewis became general manager of Murdoch’s UK newspapers business in 2010, one of the company’s publications – the News of the World tabloid – was mired in an illegal phone-hacking scandal. Within a year of joining the job, Lewis was seconded to an independent team within Murdoch’s media empire, in charge of handling the company’s response.
Additional reporting by Daniel Thomas in London