Fred Ryan to step down from Allbritton Communications, POLITICO

Ryan will leave POLITICO and Allbritton Communications in the coming months.

(WJLA) - Fred Ryan, the president of Allbritton Communications Company and the CEO of POLITICO, will step down from both roles by the end of 2013.

In a letter sent to the staffs of ABC7, NewsChannel 8 and POLITICO late Sunday night, Ryan, who has been at the helm of the media company that owns both WJLA and NewsChannel 8 for seven years, said that working with the founders of POLITICO has been one of the "true highlights of (his) professional career."

"We set out to create what I often called 'the ESPN of politics' and we have succeeded beyond any reasonable expectations," Ryan said.

Both WJLA and NewsChannel 8 are in the process of being sold to the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, with the deal expected to close by the end of the year. At that point, Ryan said in his letter that he will depart the company to pursue other professional interests.

Ryan also serves as the chairman of the board for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.

Shortly after he announced his pending departure, the co-founders and leadership team of POLITICO said in their own letter than Ryan has been an instrumental voice in the leadership circle that founded the publication.

"He simultaneously pushed us to think ambitiously and not settle for conventional goals or conventional results," the letter said, which was co-signed by ACC owner Robert Allbritton, POLITICO co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei, chief White House correspondent Mike Allen and COO Kim Kingsley.