NPR board ousts CEO Vivian Schiller in wake of video sting

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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Vivian Schiller, the President and CEO of National Public Radio, announced her resignation on Wednesday after an undercover camera caught then-NPR Vice President Ron Schiller (no relation) calling the tea party ‘racist’ and disclosing that the organization could survive without government funds. According to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, the organization’s board “ousted” Vivian Schiller from her position.

NPR is engaged in a long standing battle with congressional Republicans over funding, and GOP leaders were quick to comment on O’Keefe’s video. “As we continue to identify ways to cut spending and save valuable resources, this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told TheDC on Tuesday. “Not only have top public broadcasting executives finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive, it is also clear that without federal funds, public broadcasting stations self-admittedly would become eligible for more private dollars on top of the multi-million dollar donations these organizations already receive.”

UPDATE: Vivian Schiller tells The New York Times’ Brian Stelter she hopes her “departure from NPR will have the intended effect of easing the defunding pressure on public broadcasting.”

UPDATE 2: NPR chairman Dave Edwards has confirmed to Folkenflik that Vivian Schiller was fired by the board.

The original statement from Edwards is below:

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.

Read our original coverage of the video that started it all right here.

Headline hat tip: @carlquintanilla