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NPR CEO Gary Knell announces he’s leaving for Nat Geo

Special to SEGAZINE

After fewer than 21 months on the job, NPR CEO Gary Knell announced at mid-day Monday that he’s leaving the organization to become president and CEO at the National Geographic Society.

In a message to a surprised staff, Knell said he was “approached by the organization recently and offered an opportunity that, after discussions with my family, I could not turn down.” Click here to jump down to full statement.

Knell came to NPR from Sesame Workshop in December 2011, in the wake of considerable upheaval. Vivian Schiller resigned as CEO and president earlier that year, after two high-profile controversies the mishandled firing of NPR analyst Juan Williams and the slamming of conservatives by an NPR fundraising executive. NPR’s board of directors concluded that she could no longer effectively lead the organization.

One Knell arrived on the scene, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says, the turmoil seemed to ease as the sense grew that NPR was being “led by grownups who were working constructively in a shared direction” even as the organization continued to face significant budget pressures.

Now, with Knell’s looming departure, an astonished staff hasn’t any idea about who who his replacement will be.


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