Major changes at The Washington Post Company, with a new generation of the Graham family taking a lead role. Katharine Weymouth, niece of chairman and CEO Donald Graham, has been appointed CEO of Washington Post Media, a new unit that includes the paper and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. This should bring the business sides closer together, perhaps even integrating them, but the newsrooms will remain distinct.
She also becomes the fifth member of the Graham family to serve as publisher, returning the family to that post as she succeeds Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.; he is now vice chairman of the company and chairman of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO). Weymouth, a lawyer by training and WaPo VP of advertising since 2005, will report to Graham; Caroline Little, publisher and CEO of WPNI, will report to her as will Leonard Downie, Jr., Post executive editor, and Stephen Hills, Post president and GM. Release. I just got off the phone with Don Graham — more on that in a bit — who said Little will continue to report to him on Newsweek.com and Slate.
Weymouth has been in training for this job, which itself could be seen as training for one day running the company. She started in 1996 as assistant counsel for the paper, moving after two years to WPNI as associate counsel. She returned to the paper in 2000, where she was the liaison with WPNI. She served as director of the advertising department’s jobs unit and director of advertising sales before her promotion to VP-advertising.
Family tree: Weymouth is a great-grandchild of Eugene Meyer, who bought the paper in 1933, a granddaughter of Katharine (known as Kay) and Philip Graham, and a daughter of Lally Weymouth.
Washington Post: “Washington Post Media is designed to forge a closer relationship between the business functions of The Post newspaper and washingtonpost.com, while maintaining separate newsrooms and editorial decision-making. (The Post’s newsroom is in Washington, the Web site’s is in Arlington.) Though relations between the paper and the Web site have been difficult at times, Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said that has changed. ‘The two newsrooms have been working increasingly closely together, as can be seen most recently in coverage of the presidential election campaign in the paper and on the Web site.'”
Buyouts: The announcements of Weymouth’s promotion and the new unit’s creation came at the same time as news of another round of buyouts at the paper, a stark reminder of the challenges the paper faces no matter what unit it’s in or who leads it. The staff learned of the changes and the buyouts at a staff meeting this morning. As the Washington City Paper pointed out, it’s the third round of early retirement offers since 2003.
Photo Credit: Matt Mendelsohn