CPB announced Friday it will replace President Kathleen Cox, its president for 10 months.
She had been predecessor Robert Coonrod’s No. 2 executive and his chosen
successor when the CPB Board promoted her, effective July 1, but last week’s
terse news release cast her as a temporary hire who was finishing up a series
of research projects inspired by a McKinsey & Co. study of public TV she managed for Coonrod.
“Last spring, in no small part because of her significant contributions to [implementing the findings of the study], Kathleen Cox and CPB agreed to a one year contract to serve as president and CEO,” the statement read. “Now that the McKinsey process is completed, Kathleen and the Board believe the time is right for new executive leadership at CPB.”
CPB had just hired an executive as Cox’s second in command who will serve as acting president: Ken Ferree, former chief of the FCC’s powerful Media Bureau and now CPB’s executive v.p. and c.o.o.
CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson and spokeswoman Jeannie Bunton declined to say whether Ferree is a candidate for the position or otherwise elaborate on the four-sentence press release. Calls placed to other CPB Board members were not returned
by Current’s deadline.
PBS President Pat Mitchell said [in a press statement] she was surprised
to learn Cox was out, observing, among other things: “She recognized
the need for CPB to remain a strong heat shield to protect public media from
We deeply regret
the departure of a colleague with whom we had a strong and constructive relationship,
and who has long been committed to the ideal of public broadcasting.”
A former intellectual property attorney, Cox joined CPB as associate general
counsel in June 1997. She moved up through the ranks and was named executive
v.p. and c.o.o. January 2002.
CPB has set no timetable for the search.