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NPR CEO John Lansing to retire later this year

Radio distributor will begin immediate search for his replacement.

Radio distributor will begin immediate search for his replacement.

(Photo courtesy NPR)

The head executive at public radio program distributor NPR says he will retire at the end of the year.

The announcement was made during an interview with NPR CEO John Lansing on Tuesday, who affirmed he had not “accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish, but I feel good about the time I had here.”

“Our work has never been more important,” Lansing said. “Our shows and journalists are world-class and are serving the American public with the most professional, contextual and truth information when it has never been more important in our country.”

Lansing joined NPR in 2019 after serving as the chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the federal agency formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors who operates the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and other external broadcast outlets funded by the U.S. government.

Lansing helped steer NPR through the two-year coronavirus health pandemic that saw workers transition from in-studio to remote roles, and one that impacted NPR’s bottom line as listeners pulled back on donations amid economic turbulence.

Earlier this year, Lansing announced NPR would lay off around 10 percent of its global workforce to address funding shortages. NPR also decided to leave some vacancies unfilled.

Several top NPR executives have also left of their own accord, including its top editor last year and two key C-level executives earlier this year.

NPR said Lansing’s contract was supposed to run through next September, but he decided to move up his departure in order to spend more time with his family. The public radio company will begin an immediate search for his replacement.

In the meantime, Lansing said his last few months at the organization will see a continued push to transform NPR into a nimble, digital-first organization.

“We need to examine our approach to content and journalism production with that in mind,” Lansing said. “Otherwise, we’re really consigning NPR to a very difficult future as the audience ages.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).