Business World

Thursday 5 December 2019

Bezos secures CEO of 'Politico' Fred Ryan for 'Post' job

The news that the owners of the Washington Post are to sell the newspaper to billionaire Jeff Bezos is displayed on the front page of the newspaper in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bezos agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million, betting that he can apply his success in e-commerce to the struggling newspaper industry (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
The news that the owners of the Washington Post are to sell the newspaper to billionaire Jeff Bezos is displayed on the front page of the newspaper in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bezos agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million, betting that he can apply his success in e-commerce to the struggling newspaper industry (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Everybody in the newspaper industry and many readers, including the Punt, wonders about the shape of things to come.

That's why so many of us were interested in the decision of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to buy the 'Washington Post' last year for $250m.

Why were Bezos and other investment giants suddenly venturing where angles fear to tread? And what were they going to do with their newspapers.

We got something like an answer yesterday with the news that 'Washington Post' publisher (a title we don't have this side of the pond) and chairwoman Katharine Weymouth is stepping down after 17 years.

She is handing over the reigns to Fred Ryan, the founding chief executive of internet newspaper Politico. Weymouth is the niece of Don Graham and part of the family which has controlled the post for 80 years.

Ryan, who was is 59, is a fascinating chap. His career as an internet pioneer came relatively late in life and follows stints as chief of staff for former US president Ronald Reagan.

As editor of Politico he has won many awards. The future of newspaper is still far from clear but getting clearer.

New CEO for Aston Martin

Aston Martin has hired senior Nissan executive Andy Palmer as its new boss, the British sportscar maker said yesterday, ending its long search for a new chief executive.

Palmer (51) will take over as CEO "after he completes a transition period from his current employer", the carmaker said.

James Bond's favourite carmaker has been without a chief executive for nine months as it struggles to stay competitive with larger premium rivals and fund much-needed investments in vehicle and engine technologies.

Palmer's background and experience - including leadership of Nissan's luxury Infiniti brand - will be "instrumental in taking Aston Martin forward", the carmaker's board said in a statement.

The move adds to an exodus of Renault-Nissan executives under alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn, which began last year with Renault second-in-command Carlos Tavares.

Like Palmer, Tavares was seen as a potential future leader and now heads French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Nissan's Infiniti division has since lost its CEO Johan de Nysschen as well as Europe chief Fintan Knight, an Audi and Lamborghini veteran.

Little to tell Storyful tale

Former RTE journalist Mark Little is certain to draw a crowd at the Digital Hub in Dublin on Thursday next week.

He'll be there to tell start-ups and entrepreneurs about establishing Storyful and then going on to sell it last year to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for a cool €18m.

Mr Little (inset) made about €5m from the sale. One of the first things Mr Little did after selling Storyful was to treat his family to a well-earned trip to Disneyworld.

Storyful is one of those companies that has built its success on the back of the rapid transition that's happening in the news information space, with social media - from Twitter to YouTube - having an increasingly embedded position within the news gathering machine.

Storyful sources and verifies third-party content related to breaking events so that it can be used by media outlets such as TV stations.

The event with Mr Little at the Digital Hub is part of a wider campaign called "Business Navigators", which is being sponsored by accountancy software firm Sage to support start-ups and small businesses.

Fuelling the creative spark, especially when the road ahead can seem long and lonely, can be especially important. There are many Irish entrepreneurs who've made their marks. Mr Little will hopefully be a catalyst for more.

Irish Independent

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