Schiller Resigns As NPR CEO, LPM’s Reynolds Responds

by Gabe Bullard on March 9, 2011

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned. As NPR reports, Schiller stepped down after the “board of directors decided that she could no longer effectively lead the organization.”

The resignation follows the release of a recording of then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) criticizing conservatives and questioning NPR’s need for federal funding. Schiller made his comments during a lunch with men working with political activist James O’Keefe. The men were posing as members of a Muslim organization.

NPR board chair Dave Edwards issued the following statement Wednesday morning about Vivian Schiller:

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.

Louisville Public Media President Donovan Reynolds has issued this statement:

We are deeply disturbed by the comments of former NPR Vice President Ron Schiller contained in a video released yesterday.  They are contrary to everything Louisville Public Media stands for and we completely disavow the views expressed.

Our reporters and editors work hard to be fair and open-minded about the people we cover and to provide a wide spectrum of views about public issues.   We do not divide our community into “liberals and conservatives.”

We also strongly disagree with Mr. Schiller’s assertion that NPR and public radio stations would be better off without federal funding.  There would be serious consequences for Louisville’s three public radio stations and stations around the country if this critical part of our overall funding were to be eliminated.

We believe the NPR Board of Directors acted in the best interests of NPR and public radio in asking for President Vivian Schiller’s resignation, and we now need to focus on moving forward.

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