Donald E. Graham

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Donald E. Graham
Donald Edward Graham

April 22, 1945 (1945-04-22) (age 76)
EducationHarvard College
OccupationChairman, Graham Holdings Company
Spouse(s)Mary Wissler (1967–2007)
Amanda Bennett (2012–present)
Parent(s)Phil Graham
Katharine Graham

Donald Edward Graham (born April 22, 1945) is the majority owner and chairman of Graham Holdings Company. He was formerly the publisher of The Washington Post (1979–2000), and later was the lead independent director of Facebook's board of directors (2009–2015).[1][2]

Early life[edit]

His parents were Katharine Graham (née Meyer), later a publisher of The Washington Post, and her husband, Philip Graham.[3][4] His maternal grandmother, was Agnes Meyer.[3][4] His maternal grandfather, Eugene Meyer, bought the bankrupt Post shortly after stepping down as Chairman of the Federal Reserve in mid-1933.[5] Graham's mother had a Jewish father and Lutheran mother and was baptized as a Lutheran but attended an Episcopal church.[6] His father was also a Lutheran.[7]

Graham graduated from St. Albans School and then attended Harvard College.[8][9] In 1965, he was elected president of The Harvard Crimson, the college's breakfast daily.[10] After graduation in 1966, he volunteered for military service and served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968, as part of the United States Army 1st Cavalry Division.[8] From January 1969 to June 1970, Graham joined the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia as a patrolman.[8]

The Post[edit]

Eugene Meyer, Graham's maternal grandfather, bought The Washington Post at a bankruptcy sale in 1933. Graham's father was publisher of The Washington Post from 1946 until 1961 and president of the Washington Post Company from 1947 until his death in 1963. Graham’s mother, Eugene’s daughter, Katharine, was the head of The Washington Post newspaper for more than two decades, overseeing its most famous period, the Watergate coverage that helped bring down President Richard Nixon. She has been widely described as one of the most powerful American women of the 20th century.

In 1971, Donald Graham joined The Washington Post as a reporter, and went on to hold various news and business positions at the Post and Newsweek (until 2010, owned by The Washington Post Company), until the newspaper was sold to Jeff Bezos in 2013.[11]

He was elected to the board of the company in September 1974 and was made executive vice president and general manager of the Post in 1976. Graham became publisher of The Washington Post in 1979, succeeding his mother, who retained her corporate positions of chairman of the board and CEO of The Washington Post Company. The Company owns the newspaper, as well as the educational services provider Kaplan, Inc., Post-Newsweek Stations, Cable One, Slate magazine, and other smaller companies. Donald Graham became CEO in 1991 and chairman of the company in May 1993, while Katharine Graham assumed the position of chairman of the executive committee of the Washington Post Company.

In September 2000, Graham was elected chairman of the newspaper and passed the position of publisher to Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.

Other roles[edit]

Graham also served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board between 2001 and 2010. He is on the board of the District of Columbia College Access Program and a trustee of the Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. Graham was also formerly a member of the board of directors of the Summit Fund of Washington.

He is also an invitee of the Bilderberg Group and attended conference meetings in Greece 2009,[12] and Spain 2010.[13]


In 1974, Graham was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Whittier College.[14] In 2003, Graham received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented by Awards Council members Jim Kimsey and Steve Case.[15][16] He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2004.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In 1967, Graham married Mary Wissler. Wissler earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor's from Harvard-Radcliffe, where they met. She is a research fellow at the Kennedy School's Taubman Center at Harvard focusing on such issues as health and safety regulations. In 2007, they announced that they were separating.[18] They have four children. On June 30, 2012, he married Amanda Bennett, the director of Voice of America, and former executive editor at Bloomberg News, who was in charge of a global team of investigative reporters and editors.[19] His daughter Laura is married to Tim O'Shaughnessy,[20] former CEO of LivingSocial, and current president of Graham Holdings Company.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donald E. Graham: Executive Profile & Biography, Bloomberg
  2. ^ "Fact Sheet". Newsroom. Facebook. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b Godfrey Hodgson, "Katharine Graham - Washington Post publisher who took over the family business after her husband's suicide and saw it through the Watergate scandal", The Guardian, July 18, 2001.
  4. ^ a b Richard Willing, "'Washington Post' icon Katharine Graham, 84, dies", USA Today, July 18, 2001.
  5. ^ Ava Fran Kahn (2002). Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush: A Documentary History, 1849–1880. Wayne State University Press. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-0-8143-2859-0. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  6. ^ Zweigenhaft, Richard L. and G. William Domhoff The New CEOs : Women, African American, Latino, and Asian American Leaders of Fortune 500 Companies Published: 2014-03-18 |Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  7. ^ Silbiger, Steve (May 25, 2000). The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 9781589794900.
  8. ^ a b c Hertzberg, Hendrik (August 6, 2013). "Young Don Graham". The New Yorker.
  9. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan (January 26, 2014). "Former Washington Post CEO Don Graham to move Graham Holdings to Rosslyn". Washington Post.
  10. ^ Yared, Leah S. (May 23, 2016). "From Crimson President to Post Publisher: Donald E. Graham '66". The Harvard Crimson.
  11. ^ Paul Farhi, "Washington Post closes sale to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos," Washington Post, Oct. 1, 2013,
  12. ^ "Bilderberg 2009 list of participants". Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  13. ^ "Bilderberg 2010 list of participants". Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  14. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  15. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  16. ^ "2003 Summit Highlights Photo". Academy Awards Council members and co-founders of America Online, Jim Kimsey and Steve Case, present the Golden Plate Award to Washington Post publisher Donald Graham at the 2003 International Achievement Summit.
  17. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  18. ^ Frank Aherns, "Post Co.'s Graham and Wife to Separate", Washington Post, November 10, 2007.
  19. ^ "Post CEO Don Graham marries Amanda Bennett", Washington Post, June 20, 2012.
  20. ^ Overly, Steven (1 October 2014). "Former LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy joins Graham Holdings as president". The Washington Post.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]