NPR CEO John Lansing to retire

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Deveney Williams/NPR


NPR CEO John Lansing will retire at the end of the year, the network announced Tuesday. 

In a note to staff, Lansing said “it has been the honor of my career to have you as colleagues.”

“We have been through a lot together over the past four years, and you have made me proud every day,” he wrote. “… All of you — and I mean every person working in every role at every level of this company — played a role in serving our audiences and the public interest at a time of incredible need.”

NPR’s board will conduct a search for Lansing’s successor. Board Chair Jeff Sine said in a press release that Lansing will remain in his leadership role throughout the search.

“We are all immensely grateful to John for his principled and tenacious leadership through a turbulent time for NPR, our system and our nation,” Sine said in the release. “From developing pandemic protocols to sitting alongside President Biden at this year’s White House Press Dinner, John has faced the highs and lows with grace and equanimity.”

During his tenure, Lansing worked to more closely align NPR and member stations through the implementation of the NPR Network initiative. The initiative, which launched last year, seeks to grow digital audiences and membership at stations. He also enacted a strategic plan that centered on DEI and diversifying audience as the organization’s “North Star.”

In its press release, NPR said diversity in NPR’s executive team increased under Lansing’s leadership. It is now 40% people of color, compared to 9% in 2019, Lansing’s first year with the organization. The diversity of NPR’s staff has grown from 33% people of color in 2019 to 42%. 

Lansing oversaw deep cuts at the organization this year that included 10% of staff and the podcasts such as Louder Than a Riot and Invisibilia. Last month, he moved to combine NPR’s programming and news divisions and plans to hire a CCO to oversee the new division. 

Lansing took over as CEO in October 2019, replacing Jarl Mohn. Prior to joining NPR, Lansing was CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

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