This one is a shocker: Vivian Schiller, the longtime head of NYTimes.com's digital efforts, has left the company, and has joined National Public Radio as its new CEO. She succeeds Dennis Haarsager, who has served as interim CEO since March, after Ken Stern left abruptly after internal discord. Also recently, Kinsey Wilson, the executive editor of USA Today and previously the editor of USAToday.com, left the paper and joined NPR as its digital head. With two digital vets at NPR, its already formidable online presence and reputation should grow, if only they can prevent getting mired in all the politics at the company and its member stations.
At NYT, Schiller led the day-to-day operations of NYTimes.com, the largest newspaper website on the Internet, overseeing product, technology, marketing, classifieds, strategic planning and business development. Before joining NYTimes.com, Schiller spent four years as SVP and GM of the *Discovery* Times Channel, a joint venture of NYT and Discovery (NSDQ: DISAB) at the time.
She is at NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) until Dec 1st, the company tells me, and it hasn't yet decided on a replacement for her. NPR is about to start an all staff meeting with Schiller and will announce more details of her upcoming position and work at NPR to staff then.
The internal memo sent out about her appointment at NPR:
"From: Howard Stevenson, Chairman of the Board of Directors
I'm very pleased to tell you that today the NPR Board of Directors is announcing that we have chosen Vivian Schiller as President and CEO. Vivian, who will start on January 5, 2009, joins us from The New York Times Company, where she is Senior Vice President and General Manager of NYTimes.com.
With more than 20 years of experience in the media industry, Vivian is a talented and proven leader with superb skills and roots in the news business. Her inclusive management style and operational expertise have garnered superior results at every step of her career. She currently leads the day-to-day operations of NYTimes.com, overseeing product, technology, marketing, classifieds, strategic planning and business development. Previously, Vivian was Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Discovery Times Channel, where she led the network through a period of dramatic growth, tripling its distribution while achieving critical acclaim for award winning journalistic programming. Prior to that, Vivian served as Senior Vice President for CNN Productions, where she led CNN's long-form programming efforts, garnering multiple honors for documentaries and series produced under her oversight. Vivian began her career as a simultaneous Russian interpreter in the former Soviet Union , which led her to documentary production work for Turner Broadcasting.
We look forward to continuing to build on our core competency of radio and great content to serve our listeners via our member stations while reaching out to new audiences in various new ways. I am particularly excited to welcome Vivian as we work with the stations and producers to serve the public at this time of great stress in the media in general and as NPR plans its move to new headquarters. We are very positive about our prospects for the future due to the great base you have built, the support we are getting and the solid foundation of our members.
Those of you located at our current headquarters will have the opportunity to meet Vivian at 11:30AM today.
On behalf of the rest of the Board, I would like to thank Dennis Haarsager for stepping in as interim CEO since last March, and as always for his dedication and effective leadership. Thank you also to fellow Board members Dave Edwards and Carol Cartwright for their able stewardship as Co-Chairs of our Search Comittee and for an outstanding result.
Finally, let me say that with the continued support and commitment to NPR from all of you, I know our best years are ahead.
Thank you and sincerely,
By Rafat Ali