PBS taps Ford Foundation executive as next chief operating officer

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Jonathan Barzilay takes over as chief operating officer at PBS March 25, overseeing daily operations of the national public television organization.

He replaces Michael Jones, c.o.o. since 2009, who stepped aside into an executive advisory role in September 2014.



Barzilay is director of freedom of expression at the Ford Foundation, managing the grant-making organization’s international programs in public service journalism, press freedom, arts and culture.

Previously he worked as s.v.p. and head of content at FLO TV, Qualcomm’s mobile television service, where he oversaw content acquisition and development, programming and consumer research.

He held the title of s.v.p. and g.m. at CBS Interactive 2008-11, overseeing development of original online series and the launch of an online video player. He also spent 15 years in senior management positions at Disney/ABC and began his career as an attorney in New York focusing on entertainment law and First Amendment issues.

In a note to public television general managers Thursday, PBS President Paula Kerger said that Barzilay will focus on business operations, strategic planning and budgeting, “as well as serving as a point person on some of our toughest system issues.”

“Jonathan’s team-building expertise and his reputation for collegiality will help us collaborate in new ways across the system, and build our culture of innovation,” she wrote.

Related stories from Current:

Jones steps aside as PBS COO; Kerger announces additional executive hires

Frontline creates cross-platform investigative unit with help from Ford Foundation

In reshuffle of PBS executive ranks, Hoppe ascends to chief programmer

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