CEO Jon Abbott to leave GBH

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Jon Abbott, CEO of GBH in Boston, will step down at the end of the year.


Abbott will remain the station’s leader during the search for his successor.

“The mission to share knowledge, inspire learning and strengthen community is why I’ve devoted my career to expanding the reach and impact of public media. There is no more exciting place to do this work than GBH,” said Abbott in a news release. “It has been my great privilege to work with an extraordinary group of talented and dedicated colleagues, supporting the creation of compelling, world class content and trusted journalism that helps us understand the critical issues of our times. I am grateful to our community for its enduring support of GBH and public media.”

Abbott joined GBH in 1998 and was previously COO and GM. He became the station’s leader in 2007. During his tenure, Abbott oversaw the relaunch of World Channel, the documentary-oriented multicast channel. He led the formation of the Contributor Development Partnership, a donor database and analysis group that helps stations increase individual giving, and of PBS Distribution, which markets and sells programs.

He also supported the creation of New England Public Media, which brought the station’s WGBY together with New England Public Radio. Other milestones during his leadership included GBH’s acquisition of Public Radio International in 2012, followed by PRI’s merger with PRX in 2018.

In the past two years, Abbott oversaw a brand change and the completion of a $215 million capital campaign. He also led the creation of two roles, an executive director of accessibility and a diversity, equity and inclusion leader.

Before joining GBH, Abbott was SVP of development and corporate relations for PBS and was also VP of marketing and development for KQED in San Francisco.

“Jon’s vision and passion for the mission of public media to serve all people and to promote educational equity and citizenship has made GBH both a vital resource and a local treasure,” said GBH Board Chair Ann Fudge in the news release. “Over more than two decades he has strategically guided the organization to create purposeful, trusted content in the public interest. He leaves GBH in a strong position to continue to serve Boston, the Commonwealth and the nation with programs that inspire us to engage with one another, and with the world around us.”

Abbott is on the boards of PBS, CDP, PBS Distribution and National Public Media. He has also been on the boards of the Public Television Major Market Group, American Public Television, PRI and PRX.

“Jon Abbott is a leader within our public television system whose innovation and strategic thinking have helped propel key initiatives and services that are at the very heart of public media’s mission,” said PBS President Paula Kerger in the release. “His deep commitment to education and serving teachers and students is evidenced every day through PBS LearningMedia, a broadband service built in partnership between GBH and PBS, which has made a pivotal difference to millions of families.”

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