Leonard Downie Jr. said today he is stepping down as The Washington Post's executive editor, ending a 17-year tenure in which the paper became a major online force and won a slew of prizes for high-profile investigations, including one that Downie published over President Bush's objections.
Downie, 66, said his last day will be Sept. 8. The paper's new publisher, Katharine Weymouth, said she plans to announce a successor soon.
"After 44 years, the notion of not working in the newsroom anymore brings a lot of emotions," Downie said in an interview. "I will really miss it . . . At the same time I'm ready to do this, because so much further change now needs to take place at the newspaper and Web site, and someone else should be tackling that."
He summed up his management philosophy in a sentence: "You hire people smarter and more talented than you and enable them to do their best work."