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Kathleen Cox in interviewCPB to replace Cox as president

Bulletin in Current, April 11, 2005

CPB announced Friday evening [April 8, 2005] it will replace President Kathleen Cox, its president for 10 months.

She had been predecessor Robert Coonrod’s No. 2 executive and his chosen successor when the CPB Board promoted her, effective July 1, but last week’s terse news release cast her as a temporary hire who was finishing up a series of research projects inspired by a McKinsey & Co. study of public TV she managed for Coonrod.

“Last spring, in no small part because of her significant contributions to [implementing the findings of the study], Kathleen Cox and CPB agreed to a one year contract to serve as president and CEO,” the statement read. “Now that the McKinsey process is completed, Kathleen and the Board believe the time is right for new executive leadership at CPB.”

CPB had just hired an executive as Cox’s second in command who will serve as acting president: Ken Ferree, former chief of the FCC’s powerful Media Bureau and now CPB’s executive v.p. and c.o.o.

CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson and spokeswoman Jeannie Bunton declined to say whether Ferree is a candidate for the position or otherwise elaborate on the four-sentence press release. Calls placed to other CPB Board members were not returned by Current’s deadline.

PBS President Pat Mitchell said [in a press statement] she was surprised to learn Cox was out, observing, among other things: “She recognized the need for CPB to remain a strong heat shield to protect public media from political pressure. We deeply regret the departure of a colleague with whom we had a strong and constructive relationship, and who has long been committed to the ideal of public broadcasting.”

A former intellectual property attorney, Cox joined CPB as associate general counsel in June 1997. She moved up through the ranks and was named executive v.p. and c.o.o. January 2002.

CPB has set no timetable for the search.

Web page posted April 9, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Current Publishing Committee


In January 2004, CPB names Cox to succeed Coonrod as of July 2004.

Coonrod and Cox lay out major initiatives growing out of the McKinsey study she oversaw.


CPB's Friday-night release and Cox bio.

The Washington Post's TV reporter asks "why CPB would sign Cox to a one-year contract if she had been groomed for the job for four years and had worked at CPB for eight."

Left-flank media-watcher Jeff Chester calls Acting President Ferree "the new 'go-to man' for the cabal" pressing public broadcasting from the right.