74. Graham Holdings Company

Revenues 2016: $ 2.482 billion (€ 2.242 billion)

General Information


1150 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20071
Phone: 001-202-334-6000 or 001-800-627-1150
Fax: 001-202-334-4536
Internet:  www.washingtonpost.com
Branches: Newspapers, Magazines, TV Stations, Cable networks, Online Services, Education, Training and Career Services
Legal Form:  Stock Corporation (since 1971)
Financial Year: 01/01 - 12/31
Founding Year: 1877

Table 1: Economic Performance ($ Mio.)
Revenues (total)2,4822,5863,5353,4884,0184,2154,7244,5704,4624,1803,905
Profit after taxes 169(99,220)1.293237132.187116.223278.0291.20065.776288.61324.46
Share Price in $ (End of the Year)511,95438,78858,84660,65365.31374.49439.5430.59388.50791.43754.60


Table 2: Segment revenues ($ Mio.)

NewspapersOthersTV StationsCable TVAdvertisingOtherEducation

Executives and Officers



  • Timothy J. O’Shaughnessy, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Wallace R. Cooney, Senior Vice President–Finance, Chief Financial Officer
  • Nicole M. Maddrey, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
  • Jake Maas, Senior Vice President – Planning and Development
  • Andrew  S. Rosen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kaplan, Inc., Executive Vice President, Graham Holdings Company
  • Denise Demeter, Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Stacey Halota, Vice President–Information Security and Privacy
  • Jocelyn E. Henderson, Vice President–Corporate Audit Services
  • Anthony Lyddane, Vice President–Tax
  • Daniel J. Lynch, Vice President and Treasurer
  • Pinkie Dent Mayfield, Vice President–Corporate Affairs Special Assistant to the Chairman
  • Marcel Snyman, Controller
  • Theresa A. Wilson, Vice President–Risk Management
  • Elaine  Wolff, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary
  • Emily D. Firippis, Assistant Treasurer


Board of Directors:

  • Donald E. Graham
  • Timothy J. O'Shaughnessy
  • Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University
  • Christopher C. Davis, Davis Selected Advisers, LP
  • Thomas S. Gayner, Markel Corporation
  • Jack A. Markell
  • Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox Corporation
  • Larry D. Thompson, PepsiCo
  • G. Richard Wagoner, General Motors Corporation
  • Katharine Weymouth



Donald E. Graham
The son of the publishing legend Katharine and Phil Graham had been the publisher of the post from 1979 to 1991 and has been the CEO ever since. Despite – or maybe because of – coming from a background worth millions of funds, he voluntarily joined the Army in order to fight in Vietnam. When he returned, he went on the beat in the projects in Washington. This activity, which he probably chose to undertake due to an inferiority complex caused by his privileged background, prepared him for his future endeavours in journalism, which he would kick off in 1971, a simple journalist at the 'Post'. The remaining employees hold Graham in high regards and think of him as the guardian of the newspaper – despite his hesitant position when it came to the online strategy in the 1990s that damaged the 'Post' rather than guarding it. In early 2011, he voluntary waived a wage increase and insisted  not to earn more than 'just' 421 000 $ p.a. An increase to 1,2 million $ might had been hard to justify in the face of mass firings and losses in the millions.

Katharine Weymouth
Don Graham made the daughter of his sister Lally the new publisher in 2008. Unlike her predecessor, Katharine had not been a trained journalist. The Harvard graduate had previously been working as lawyer in the company's legal department. However, her supporter Graham does not deem her lack of experience in journalism to be a flaw but a chance to rescue the drowning newspaper from its fate by means of a fresh and untainted perspective. Right from the get-go, Weymouth sought to combine the print and online editors' offices under the newly found 'Washington Times Media' division, which had been operated as separate entities before.

However, her first two years as publisher were overshadowed by two decisions that would make every protector of journalistic value rise in his grave (or fall right into it). In early 2009, Weymout had the idea to host 'salons' in her own home. Politicians and lobbyists would get the opportunity to talk with 'Post' editors during a shared dinner, off-the record of course and for a meagre remuneration of 25.000 to 250.000$. The plan was discovered by the Politico newspaper and resulted in a PR disaster, unlike anything the newspaper had experienced since the 'Jimmy's World' article. Weymouth refused to take responsibility and accused the head of marketing Charles Pelton.

She lost further credibility a few months later, when she prevented the publication of a report by the journalist and photographer Matt Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn accompanied a producer of fashion shows for a whole year, who had lost both her arms and legs as a result of a bowel surgery and the resulting coma. The article described how the produced dealt with her disability, the care of her mother and the fashion business' relationship to disabled people. Yet, Weymouth forbid the publication and used Mendelsohn's article and used it as an example during editors' conferences for the type of journalism she did not want to see in the future. Stories like that, would be to depressive and result in advertising clients to stay away from the newspaper.

Business Fields


Print media
Besides the publication flag ship of the same name, the Washington Post Company in Washington also published the free newspaper Express and the Spanish-language newspaper El Tiempo Latino as well as several free advertising supplements. Under the name Post-Newsweek Media, the company also published the local newspapers The Gazette and Fairfax County Times as well as several Southern Maryland Newspapers. Other activities by the publisher include printing offices and warehouses. The Newsweek magazine, which has been part of the portfolio since 1961, was sold for the symbolic price one dollar to the 92-year old entrepreneur Sidney Harman in 2010, following years of severe losses.

The Washington Post Company operates a total of six television stations in the USA. WDIV (Großraum Detroit) and KPRC (Houston) are so-called affiliates of NBC. WPLG (Miami/ Fort Lauderdale) and KSAT (San Antonio) primarily broadcast ABC programs. WKMG (Orlando) is an affiliate of CBS and WJXT (Jacksonville) operates independent from the large sender chains.

Cable and Internet
Cable One is a telecommunications and Internet provider that is active both in the Mid-west and the South of the USA. The 'Interactive' division also includes numerous online magazines, published by the Washington Post Company:  Slate (Politics and General Interest), the Root (Afro-American Themes), The Big Money (Business) and Foreign Policy (International Politics).

The education service provider Kaplan, Inc. needs particular attention as it has become the lift fore of the whole company and as such, even the flagship newspaper itself. Without the cross-financing provided by Kaplan, the 'Post' would not exist any more. The acquisition of Kaplan in 1984 happened as the result of a coincidence. The former publisher Katharine Graham refused attempts to take over a provider of exam-preperations, founded by a Belarusian immigrant. It had been none other than her confidant Warren Buffett, who convinced her of the long-team chances in growth of the profit-orientated private US educational sector. The acquisition of the company for 40 million $ turned out to be a lucky draw: In the first ten years after the acquisition, the share rose from 27 to 245 $ in worth. Nowadays, Kaplan generates more than two billion $ p.a.

Kaplan operates 70 private campuses in 20 states, sporting more than 112 000 students. Kaplan also prepares hundreds of thousands of students for the exams every year.

Yet, Kaplan business practices are increasingly finding themselves in the focus of critics. Hence, Kaplan had to skip the registrations in California an Florida in 2010, when an undercover agent of an independent investigative committee pointed out irregularities when it  came to the recruitment of new students to the government. Potential recruits were wrongly told that a degree from a Kaplan university would bear the same merit as a Harvard degree – the educational agents all works on a provision basis. Also, many of the courses on offer, for which poor students shoulder horrendous debts, are many times more expensive than state schools. The US government reckons that the number of Kaplan graduates who can manage to repay their educational credits in the near future is a mere 28 percent.





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