NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigns in wake of video sting by conservative activist
Looks like NPR CEO Vivian Schiller stumbled on one scandal too many.
Weeks after some observers said she barely kept her position in the wake of the national controversy over firing pundit Juan Williams, Schiller has resigned from her position at NPR -- felled by a new controversy over a video sting by a conservative activist.
NPR media reporter Dave Folkenflik reported on Twitter that Schiller was forced out by NPR's board. The organization weathered criticism from conservatives and renewed calls to defund public broadcasting after conservative activist James O'Keefe released video secretly taken of a lunch meeting in which NPR's top fund-raiser at the time called Tea Party members "racist" and suggested the organization would be better off without federal funding.
(Full disclosure: I have provided commentaries to NPR on TV issues as a freelance contributor.)
NPR board chairman Dave Edwards sent this message to staff and members stations, featured on NPR's own blog, The Two Way:
"It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.
"The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.
"Vivian brought vision and energy to this organization. She led NPR back from the enormous economic challenges of the previous two years. She was passionately committed to NPR's mission, and to stations and NPR working collaboratively as a local-national news network.
"According to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, has been appointed to the position of Interim CEO. The Board will immediately establish an Executive Transition Committee that will develop a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of new leadership.
"I recognize the magnitude of this news – and that it comes on top of what has been a traumatic period for NPR and the larger public radio community. The Board is committed to supporting NPR through this interim period and has confidence in NPR's leadership team."
The official statement from NPR follows:
NPR BOARD OF DIRECTORS STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION OF VIVIAN SCHILLER, NPR PRESIDENT & CEO
March 9, 2011; Washington, D.C. –
The NPR Board of Directors announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.
Board Chairman Dave Edwards said: “The Board accepted Vivian’s resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.”
According to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, will be appointed to the position of Interim CEO. The Board will establish an Executive Transition Committee to develop a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of new leadership.