A memo from Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan Tuesday tells staffers that President and General Manager Steve Hills will leave the publication. Hills started work at the Post in 1987 as a sales rep, according to his LinkedIn page. “No one knows The Post better than Steve,” Ryan writes in his memo. Hills will leave at the end of the year, and he’ll become the founding director of Georgetown University’s Law Center Business Program, a Post story says.
I interviewed Hills last year about the Post‘s content initiatives with newspapers around the country, yet another route for growth for a paper that has developed a stronger national profile under new owner Jeff Bezos.
Chief financial officer Steve Gibson will take over some of Hills’s duties, Ryan writes. As such, his title “will be expanded to include vice president, finance and operations.” Gibson is handling the Post‘s move from its 15th Street headquarters to its soon-to-be new home at One Franklin Square.
Here’s the memo:
Dear Washington Post Colleagues,
This morning, Steve Hills officially informed the team at our weekly vice presidents’ meeting of his plans to leave The Post at the end of 2015. As significant as this news is, for some of us it did not come as a surprise. Steve told me earlier this year that he planned to leave The Post at year end. My initial response was to attempt to convince him to remain in the role he performs so well at an institution he has served with such devotion. After many conversations with Steve, however, it became clear that he is at a unique point in his life and his career, with a multitude of new and unique opportunities available to him. I have come to accept and respect his decision to leave a company that has meant so much to him over the course of a long and distinguished career.
Even though I have known for some time that this announcement would come, it does not make it any easier. For nearly twenty-eight years, Steve has been a very important leader and The Post is all the better for his years of devotion and service. No one knows The Post better than Steve. His unique perspective, his keen analytical skills and inspired leadership will be truly missed.
The good news for us is that he will remain actively engaged at his normal 110% level until he wraps things up at year end. Beyond that, I am especially pleased that The Post will continue to benefit from his guidance and solid judgment as he has agreed to continue to serve as an advisor to The Post as he pursues his next ventures.
Whether you are one of the many Post veterans that Steve has recruited over the years, or a recent addition such as myself, Steve has been an unfailing source of solid advice, sound judgment and good character.
Over these past few months, Steve and I have had the opportunity to thoughtfully explore how to plan an orderly transition and how to best structure The Post leadership team following his departure.
The Post is fortunate to have so many incredibly talented executives in leadership positions across the company. Many were hired by Steve over the years and others were great recent additions to the team. In light of the unique role Steve has filled and the deep bench of talent currently in place at The Post, I’ve decided not to fill the position of president and general manager. Instead, our current vice presidents will take on broader roles when Steve departs. While several of the vice presidents currently report to me directly, under the new structure I will enjoy the chance to work more closely with other members of the VP team.
One area where we feel some of Steve’s operational duties would be best assigned is under our CFO, Steve Gibson. Since joining The Post last year, Steve Gibson has skillfully taken on a variety of operational roles and has worked closely with Steve Hills on several successful initiatives. To reflect these additional duties, Steve Gibson’s title will be expanded to include vice president, finance and operations. We are grateful to Steve Gibson for taking on these additional responsibilities and know that The Post will continue to benefit from his leadership.
We will have many opportunities to celebrate Steve Hills’ professional contributions and personal friendships over the months ahead and we will make sure we do so before year end.