ProJo newsroom sources say Mark T. Ryan, the paper's executive vice president and general manager, will be leaving the company come August.
Ryan, an enigmatic figure who came to embody - fairly or not - the newspaper's shift from a family-owned jewel of American journalism to a diminished corporate-owned publication, could not be reached for comment this evening.
A Warwick native, Ryan joined the Journal in 1986 and gradually moved his way up through the ranks, assuming his current post as second-in-command behind publisher Howard Sutton in 2001 five years after Dallas-based Belo Corporation bought the paper.
Ryan, who has been more deeply involved in business affairs than editorial matters, earned respect in some quarters for a scrappy, direct style. But officials with the Providence Newspaper Guild came to see him as a driving force behind the nasty contract dispute that hung over the paper from 1999 to 2003 and subsequent efforts to cut costs amid the paper's declining fortunes.
The circumstances around Ryan's departure are still not clear. But A.H. Belo Corporation, a Belo spin-off which owns the ProJo and the Dallas Morning-News among other papers, has been pursuing some heavy cost-cutting in recent months.
There were buyouts and layoffs in the fall and another round of layoffs in March. Then, in April, three executives left the Morning-News as part of an apparent bid to trim costs.