Vivian Schiller has resigned as NPR president, the news organization has just announced. Her departure, effective immediately, follows yesterday’s release of a video sting involving NPR fundraising chief Ron Schiller, who exited late yesterday.
In a statement posted on NPR’s own news blog, NPR Chair Dave Edwards said the NPR Board accepted Vivian Schiller’s 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.”
Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, will be appointed to the position of interim c.e.o., and an NPR executive transition committee will work on details of recruiting new leadership. Before coming to NPR, Slocum was in charge of business and legal affairs at HIT Entertainment, a major producer of children’s television programs.
Ron Schiller, who is no relation to Vivian Schiller, already planned to leave NPR in May for a new job at the Aspen Institute when a videotape of his lunch meeting with two men posing as prospective donors provided fresh ammunition to conservatives seeking to end public broadcasting’s federal subsidies. Schiller described members of the Tea Party as “racist, racist people” and made disparaging remarks about the Republican Party in the heavily edited video, which was produced by conservative activist filmmaker James O’Keefe. Late yesterday, Ron Schiller apologized for his comments and announced that his resignation was effective immediately.
With the departure of both Schillers, NPR has now lost three top executives in the fall-out over last fall’s dismissal of former NPR analyst Juan Williams. Ellen Weiss, senior news v.p., resigned under pressure in January.
In his statement this morning, Edwards acknowledged the turbulence at NPR and its effects on public broadcasting: “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.”
UPDATE: NPR’s David Folkenflik is reporting that Vivian Schiller was forced to resign.