Wed 12 Nov, 2008 09:59 am
Times Executive Resigns to Lead NPR
By RICHARD PEREZ-PENA
Published: November 11, 2008
Vivian Schiller, who heads the online operations of The New York Times, will leave the paper to become the president and chief executive of National Public Radio, the network announced on Tuesday.
Ms. Schiller, 47, will take over NPR on Jan. 5, heading a nonprofit corporation with a budget of more than $150 million and an endowment of more than $240 million. It provides news and entertainment programming to more than 800 public radio stations around the country and claims an audience of 26 million people.
Ms. Schiller will succeed Kevin Klose, who served as president for 10 years, and Dennis L. Haarsager, the interim chief executive. Mr. Klose recently became NPR’s president emeritus and president of the NPR Foundation.
The network has gone through several high-level power struggles in recent years, including clashes with Bush administration appointees at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting who suggested that NPR had a liberal bias. In 2006, it pushed its top news executive into a lesser job, and last March, the NPR board forced out Kenneth Stern just 18 months after naming him chief executive.
In hiring Ms. Schiller, “what we were looking for were leadership skills, sort of a quiet, tough humility, the ability to implement and an energy to carry us and the stations forward in a positive way,” said Howard Stevenson, the chairman.
He said Ms. Schiller’s Internet experience was significant at a time when “we’re in the process of figuring out how you use all this new technology.”
Since May 2006, Ms. Schiller has been senior vice president and general manager of NYTimes.com. During her tenure, the site greatly increased its audience and expanded features like personalization tools, blogs and video.
Previously, she was executive vice president and general manager of the Discovery Times Channel, a cable television channel, and headed long-form programming at CNN.
NPR relies on fees paid by member stations, who in turn, ask listeners for contributions, and it also receives grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But it became much more financially secure in 2004, with a bequest of more than $200 million from Joan B. Kroc.