Rosenthal returns to CIR as acting CEO after executive exodus

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Robert Rosenthal has taken over as acting CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting following a rapid exodus of the investigative news organization’s top leadership. 

CEO Kaizar Campwala resigned Friday following the sudden departures of two other key leaders, COO Annie Chabel and Editor-in-Chief Sumi Aggarwal, who both resigned Thursday. 

Business Insider reported that Campwala’s resignation came after employees sent a no confidence letter to CIR’s board. In their letter, staff wrote that Campwala “had not demonstrated a commitment to the journalism nonprofit’s mission and raised doubts about his ability to lead the organization and its fundraising efforts,” according to Business Insider. Campwala joined CIR in January. 

Rosenthal, a CIR board member, previously served as executive director from 2008–2017. 

There are “no plans to change direction” following the leadership change, according to a CIR statement provided to Current on Tuesday. Chabel and Aggarwal are working with Rosenthal “to ensure a smooth transition,” CIR said.

“Although our stakeholders are naturally concerned regarding the state of the organization, we are confident in the leaders of our editorial teams, who have been spearheading high-level investigative stories across platforms at CIR for years,” according to the statement. 

CIR, which co-produces the public radio show and podcast Reveal, will continue publishing the weekly radio show and podcast and work on a documentary that’s expected to stream on Netflix next year, according to the statement. 

CIR’s executive shake-up comes one month after Campwala announced layoffs at the organization, citing a revenue shortfall. 

CIR added in its statement that Rosenthal and the board “are committed to doing all they can to raise the funds necessary to meet our financial challenges. They are also committed to our current focus on partnerships, as they recognize the importance of supporting local news media and CIR’s ability to leverage our unique position for the benefit of the news ecosystem.”

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