Politico’s founding CEO and Allbritton Communications Company COO Fred Ryan will be stepping down from both jobs to “pursue other career options,” he announced on Sunday.
Ryan, who also serves as both Politico and ACC’s presidents, has been with ACC since 1995 and Politico since the site began in 2007. ACC sold all of its broadcast TV stations in July 2013 to Sinclair Group for $985 million, leaving the company to focus on its more profitable internet ventures like Politico. Its first acquisition in this effort was the purchase of Capital New York on Sept. 8.
“Clearly, the dual-hat role as president of both Allbritton Communications Company and Politico will no longer exist,” Ryan said in a memo to staff.
“Although it has been a difficult decision to make, I have concluded that the closing of the sale will be the logical time to pursue other career options that have emerged in recent months and explore how best to put my business interests to work in a new arena.”
Politico’s upper management followed Ryan’s memo to staff with one of its own. ACC Chairman and CEO Robert Allbritton, Politico’s executive editor and co-founder Jim VandeHei, COO Kim Kingsley, editor-in-chief John Harris, chief White House correspondent Mike Allen stressed that Ryan’s departure was not a surprise.
“We have discussed his move carefully for months now,” they wrote. “This is a big moment in the life of our publication. It is one we have known is coming for some time, and it comes at a moment when we are well-positioned to begin a new chapter at Politico.”
“Robert will have a lot to say on this in the coming days,” the memo added.
Ryan will stay on at both companies until the Sinclair sale is complete, and will serve as Politico’s director afterwards.
Ryan called his Politico position “the best job in media” and “one of the true highlights of my professional career.” He’d previously served in various White House positions during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and Reagan’s Chief of Staff in his post-presidential years until 1995, when he went to Allbritton.
He continues to serve as the chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s Board of Trustees.