ZRG Partners Recruits CEO for The Washington Post

After a monthslong recruiting process, ZRG has landed veteran media executive Will Lewis as the new publisher and CEO of the Washington Post. “Will is an exceptional, tenacious industry executive whose background in fierce, award-winning journalism makes him the right leader at the right time,” says Jeff Bezos. Let’s go inside this important search!

November 9, 2023 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, recently assisted in the recruitment of veteran media executive Will Lewis as publisher and CEO of the Washington Post. Erik Sorenson led the assignment on behalf of ZRG. “As I’ve gotten to know Will, I’ve been drawn to his love for journalism and passion for driving financial success,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has owned the Washington Post since 2013. “Will embodies the tenacity, energy and vision needed for this role. He believes that together we will build the right future for the Post. I agree.”

Mr. Lewis will assume the top position at the Washington Post effective January 2, succeeding Patty Stonesifer, who came on when Fred Ryan stepped down earlier this year after nearly a decade in the job.

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

“Ten years ago, I made a commitment to the future of The Washington Post, inspired by its ambitious and consequential journalism,” said Mr. Bezos. “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.”

Mr. Lewis’s decades of media leadership include reporting for and building award-winning newsrooms, expanding key business audiences and demonstrating a strong commitment to press freedom, all while successfully embracing the industry’s defining shift from print to digital with proven, competitive business growth.

Leading at the intersection of media and technology, Mr. Lewis is currently the founder, CEO, and publisher of The News Movement, a social-first media business providing nonpartisan news to Gen Z. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Dow Jones and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal from 2014 to 2020, where he led significant growth and digital transformation across platforms. Mr. Lewis also served as chief creative officer of News Corp, and group general manager for News Corp in the U.K. Under his leadership as editor of The Daily Telegraph, in 2010 the newspaper won U.K. Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards. Prior to The Telegraph, Mr. Lewis served as business editor of The Sunday Times, and before that held a number of roles at The Financial Times including global news editor. He began his career as a business reporter for the Mail on Sunday.

“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,” said Mr. Lewis. “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.”

Related: TurnkeyZRG Places Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as Next Head of NCAA

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, according to the New York Times. 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, the New York Times said.

CTO Search

This past August, ZRG helped to place Vineet Khosla was the new chief technology officer of The Washington Post. Leading the assignment were managing directors Kevin S. Anderson and Darren Mooney. For the last five years, Mr. Khosla had been a senior engineering leader at Uber. The search firm announced the placement in a recent LinkedIn post: “With a proven track record of innovation in AI and machine learning, Vineet will be joining The Washington Post during a rapidly changing media environment and leading them through their next phase of innovation.”

ZRG Partners Recruits CEO for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation
David V. Trulio, former managing editor, head of strategy and editorial operations for FOX News Digital, will be charged with continuing the 40th President’s legacy. Mr. Trulio also has extensive experience as in both the U.S. government and aerospace and defense industry. David V. Trulio, former managing editor, head of strategy and editorial operations for FOX News Digital, will be charged with continuing the 40th President’s legacy. Mr. Trulio also has extensive experience as in both the U.S. government and aerospace and defense industry.

“We are in a rapidly changing media environment and are thrilled to welcome Vineet to The Post at this critical moment,” said Ms. Stonesifer. “His extensive background in technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing, makes him an excellent fit to lead The Post through our next phase of innovation. Vineet’s hiring solidifies The Post’s commitment to invest in new technologies that best serve our audiences,” she said. “His career centers on building technology products backed by research and precise design; a specific skill-set that will further establish The Post as a destination for readers daily.”

Founded in 1877, The Washington Post is a daily newspaper based in Washington, D.C. Its mission “is to connect, inform, and enlighten local, national, and global readers with trustworthy reporting, in-depth analysis and engaging opinions,” according to the newspaper. “The Post is as much a tech company as it is a media company, combining world-class journalism with the latest technology and tools so readers can interact with The Post anytime, anywhere.”

ZRG, founded in 1999, is a global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services, and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology. ZRG is based in Rochelle Park, NJ.

ZRG Acquires Sucherman Group
ZRG acquired Sucherman Group, a media and entertainment focused executive search firm. Founder Stuart Sucherman and CEO Erik Sorenson, both former media executives, will continue to lead the organization. “We are thrilled to add the premier team in the media space to the ZRG family. They have built an incredible team and are content sector experts who bring clear value to every engagement,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG.

Mr. Sorenson is a veteran media and entertainment executive with more than 35 years of experience leading and advising the world’s top news, sports and technology brands. He is the CEO of ZRG’s Sucherman division and serves as partner to media giants, technology leaders, and powerhouse sports brands ranging from WarnerMedia to Dreamworks, Univision to Google, the New York Mets to the San Francisco Giants.

Mr. Sorenson was appointed president and CEO in 2013, after joining Sucherman as chief operating officer in 2010. While setting the vision and strategy for Sucherman, he is hands-on with clients, leading more than 500 advisory and recruitment assignments over the past 10 years.

Related: ZRG Partners Assists the Government of the District of Columbia with CFO Search

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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