This week, Jeff Bezos began the process of conducting in-person interviews with the final two candidates for the Washington Post publisher and C.E.O. position, the last step in a months-long search for an executive leader who can reverse the fortunes of a storied news company still on the hunt for a vision—and a sustainable revenue model—in the post-Trump, post-Marty Baron era.
One of the two finalists, according to sources familiar with the matter, is Josh Steiner, the investor and Bloomberg L.P. senior adviser who I identified as a leading candidate last week. Steiner makes a whole lot of sense for a number of reasons, notably the fact that he’s a former Lazard M.D. who also grinded away for years in the salt mines of government. I have ample reason to believe that the other may be Will Lewis, the former Dow Jones C.E.O. and Wall Street Journal publisher who recently launched a Gen Z-focused media startup called The News Movement. (The Post declined to comment.) Lewis is also on the board of the Associated Press and was once a finalist for the BBC Director General position. Earlier this year, he received knighthood at the nomination of former prime minister Boris Johnson.
Until recently, of course, Bezos had been relying on Patty Stonesifer, his longtime confidant and Amazon board member, to winnow the pool down from seemingly every media executive under the sun—many of whom got the call from the Sucherman executive search firm, but not Stonesifer herself—to a small group of five finalists. So many people in the WaPo universe would have loved it if Stonesifer were Dick Cheney-ing the process—running a search that effectively led to her own selection. Alas, that was never going to happen. A few weeks ago, Bezos held Zoom meetings with each of those five finalists and reviewed the six-page memos that they’d been asked to submit, but only these last two have been invited to come in and meet with Bezos in person.