The changeover at the National Geographic Society and NPR continue. NPR CEO Gary Knell today was announced as president and CEO of Nat Geo Society, leaving NPR after 21 months on the job. At NGS, Knell replaces John M. Fahey, who had been CEO since 1998, adding a chairman title in 2011. Fahey will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Knell will transition to the new position in the fall. Fahey has been shaking up the upper ranks at the 124-year-old nonprofit scientific and educational institution over the past couple of years in an effort to bring it faster into the digital age as well as modernize its TV operations and expand production capabilities. NGS president Tim Kelly left at the end of last year, while Brooke Runnette replaced Maryanne Culpepper as president of National Geographic Television. Meanwhile, Knell’s departure from NPR extends the revolving door at the top of the embattled public radio network. His replacement is believed to be the seventh permanent or acting NPR CEO in just over seven years. Knell succeeded Vivian Schiller who was forced to resign over a string of controversies. Before joining NPR, he spent 22 years at Sesame Workshop, including a 12-year tenure as CEO.
NPR CEO Gary Knell Exits To Become CEO & President Of National Geographic Society; John Fahey Stays As NGS Board Chairman
Fox Cable Networks, Fox Entertainment Group and National Geographic Society are being sued by a widow of an Army soldier over the documentary Inside Afghan ER, which she claims shows unauthorized pictures of her and her children. Donnice Roberts, whose husband Staff Sgt Kevin Casey Roberts was killed on duty in Afghanistan in May 2008, says her family’s lives are in danger from radical fanatics because of what was shown in the documentary, which never aired in the U.S. (Authorized by the Pentagon, Inside Afghan ER only aired internationally in 2009.) Roberts wants an injunction against Inside Afghan ER and more than $75,000 in damages, and she is seeking an order to stop the names and images of military families being used without their permission. Fox and National Geographic Society are partners in the Nat Geo Channel and Nat Geo Channels International. The suit was filed November 1 in U.S. District Court in Texas; service summons orders against the plaintiffs were filed Wednesday. “We have not been served with a lawsuit and as a result we can’t comment,” a Fox spokesperson said today, speaking for all defendants.
EXCLUSIVE: The shakeup at the National Geographic Society continues. I’ve learned that this afternoon National Geographic Society president Tim Kelly announced internally that he will leave the company at the end of the year after three decades. His departure comes on the heels of the July exit of Maryanne Culpepper, president of National Geographic Television, the studio/documentary arm of the National Geographic Society.
Kelly joined National Geographic in 1982 and rose through the ranks to president, a title he’s held since January 2011. I hear there is no plan for a direct replacement, with National Geographic Society chairman and CEO John Fahey slated to discuss the transition in a company-wide staff meeting tomorrow. I hear the departure of Kelly is part of Fahey’s plans to overhaul the 124-year-old non-profit scientific and educational institution, bringing it faster into the digital age.