Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of National Public Radio, has announced he will resign this fall to assume the same titles at the National Geographic Society. NPR’s David Folkenflik is reporting that whoever takes Knell’s place will be the network’s “seventh acting or full-time CEO in (a) little over seven years.”
Knell came to NPR late in 2011, in the wake of Vivian Schiller’s resignation earlier that year. Schiller was forced out after two high-profile PR disasters: the dismissal of NPR analyst Juan Williams for saying on Fox News that he gets nervous when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on planes; and the release of a heavily edited undercover video showing then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller slamming the tea party movement to confederates of conservative activist James O’Keefe, who were posing as Muslim donors.
Here is an excerpt from the letter Knell sent to colleagues at NPR:
Before I even started at NPR, I had huge respect for this organization. And from the first minute of my first day on the job, my respect has only grown. Seven days a week, around the clock, Member Stations are serving the critical needs of their audiences in ways that few others can. That’s because of what each of you make happen. The power of this institution rests in its collective brilliance, courage, and dedication – and in the commitment we all share to make public radio better each day.
Knowing this makes it a little easier to share a difficult decision I’ve made. I will be leaving NPR after my term ends in late fall to join the National Geographic Society as its President and CEO. I was approached by the organization recently and offered an opportunity that, after discussions with my family, I could not turn down.