Washington Post CEO Drops News Of Layoffs In Tense Meeting Before Bolting

The CEO of Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post led a town hall on Wednesday in which he told an agitated staff that a significant percentage of them would soon be laid off.

Paper CEO and publisher Fred Ryan stated that the layoffs, which will significantly affect the newsroom, would begin during the first quarter of 2023.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the company said it would be axing its stand-alone Sunday print magazine, firing 10 newsroom employees.

“For those people whose positions will be eliminated, this will be a difficult time,” Ryan said.

As Ryan attempted to exit the building, numerous staff began to yell questions and concerns.

“We’re not going to turn the town hall into a grievance session,” said the CEO.

“Fred, you talked about positions getting eliminated. What are you going to do to protect people’s jobs? Are they going to be treated like the magazine staffers were?” one employee could be heard asking in reference to the Sunday print magazine layoff as Ryan was walking out.

“We’ll have more information as we move forward,” replied Ryan as he went out the door.

A self-described “open-shop union” compromised of paper employees known as the “Washington Post Guild” put out a statement on the incident, writing, “This behavior is unacceptable from any leader, but especially the leader of a news organization whose core values include transparency and accountability.”

The guild posted on Twitter that its members will not allow Ryan to “turn his back on workers with urgent questions and valid concerns.”

“Washington Post employees … must be part of any transformation to this company. Stay tuned,” the guild wrote.

Axios reported that the Washington Post is not expect to be profitable this year, but will still manage to stay in business.

The Post’s newsroom double in size during Ryan’s tenure as CEO, now exceeding 1,00 employees, per Axios.

Washington Post’s chief communications officer, Kathy Baird, put out a statement saying that there would not be a “net reduction in Post head count” and that the company is now planning to “invest in coverage, products, and people in service of providing high value to our subscribers and new audiences.”