Washingtonian editor Garrett Graff, who took over in 2009, will leave the magazine in June, publisher Cathy Merrill Williams announced today.

Hired at only 28 to replace his 75-year-old predecessor, Jack Limpert, who’d run the place for decades, Graff presided over a reinvention of the monthly magazine’s front-of-the-book section, which he’d edited before taking over. Washingtonian won a Livingston Award for national reporting last year and is up for more than a dozen awards from the City/Regional Magazine Association this year; it won for “general excellence” and “online excellence” last year.

“Garrett has made a huge and positive impact on our business, our people and on all of our products,” Merrill Williams says in her email to staff. “As only the third editor in our 49-year-old publication, he will always be part of the Washingtonian family.”

“Cathy and I agreed this was a good time for me to step down, after five years as editor and nine years at the magazine,” Graff says. “I’m amazingly proud of the work that we’ve done in the last five years, both in terms of the print magazine and all of our digital efforts.”

What’s next? “I don’t have any concrete plans at this point, but am looking forward to a new challenge, wherever that may lie,” he says. “I’m under contract to Simon & Schuster for my third book, a Cold War history, so I’m sure that’ll take up a chunk of my time too.”

Staffers Sherri Dalphonse and Kristen Hinman will be acting co-editors while Washingtonian searches for a new editor.

News of Graff’s departure was first reported by the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone.

Read Merrill Williams’ full memo below:

Team –

I am writing you with a heavy heart that Garrett and I have agreed he will be leaving Washingtonian in June after serving the past five years as our editor. When I promoted Garrett to editor in 2009 in the depths of the recession many thought he was too young to take on the challenge and that I was crazy for taking such a risk. Garrett’s first-class intellect and leadership abilities quickly proved the critics wrong. Garrett has made a huge and positive impact on our business, our people and on all of our products. As only the third editor in our 49-year-old publication, he will always be part of the Washingtonian family. Most importantly, during his tenure Garrett has hired and mentored a group of extraordinary writers, editors and contributors whose talent and potential remain and who I will be leaning heavily upon in the weeks to come. As Garrett moves on to find his next challenge and unbelievable finish his third book, he will be missed.

I have begun a search for a new editor. Having very fortunately found Garrett in the office next door when I got here, I have no idea how long this search may take. In the interim, I have asked Sherri Dalphonse and [Kristen] Hinman to serve as acting co-editors. As you know, Sherri has been with us over 20 years and brings with her great knowledge, depth and experience. While [Kristen] is fairly new to the team coming to us from Bloomberg last year, she brings with her new ideas and a window into how other media companies have been navigating the changing media scene. I am comfortable we are in good hands and they will do a fine job.

Finally, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in all of you and know each of you will continue to do great work for our 300,000 print readers and our nearly one million monthly unique web readers.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.


Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post originally misspelled Kirsten Hinman’s first name.

Photo courtesy Garrett Graff