Sally Jo Fifer to leave ITVS

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Sally Jo Fifer will step down as CEO of the Independent Television Service, the San Francisco–based organization announced Tuesday.

Fifer (Photo courtesy ITVS)

She will remain in her role until ITVS’ board hires and onboards a new CEO, according to a press release.

“After 22 wonderful years, I’ve let the ITVS board know that the time has come for me to leave this incredibly important organization to pursue new learning and creative endeavors,” Fifer said in a statement. “The ITVS staff and board have never been stronger, the films more powerful, and the role of public media more vital. I’m confident our talented team will take the mission to new heights.”

Fifer will move on to the next phase of her life and career “while in good health,” an ITVS spokesperson said.

Fifer became ITVS’ third CEO in 2001 after leading the Bay Area Video Coalition for nine years. Under her leadership, ITVS tripled its operating budget from $7.7 million to $23 million. She executive-produced more than 1,000 films and documentaries, and her credit appears on 16 Oscar nominees and 37 Primetime Emmy winners. She received a Peabody Institutional Award in 2017.

In December, Fifer signed a new three-year agreement with CPB to fund 30 to 50 independent documentaries and docuseries for public media each year. The agreement ends Sept. 30, 2025.

“Sally’s combination of integrity, strategic acuity, fierce commitment to supporting media makers, and kindness will be simply impossible to replace,” said Garry Denny, chair of ITVS’ board. “I know the documentary field deeply appreciates her for driving ITVS’ programmatic expansion grounded in diversity and inclusion and its innovation mindset.”

The board is working with the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to recruit a future leader.

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