BBG Watch Commentary

As suggested by recent BBG Watch reporting, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) acting through the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) corporate board, approved a multi-year contract for Kevin Klose to become RFE/RL President And CEO. Klose, who was hired by the BBG in January 2013, has brought reforms and stability to the organization which was badly shaken by the firing of dozens of Radio Liberty journalists in Russia under his predecessor Steven Korn. All BBG members who all serve on the RFE/RL corporate board have approved Klose’s appointment, a BBG press release said.

BBG Chairman Jeff Shell said about Kevin Klose: ”His stewardship as brought steady progress.  We look forward to working with Kevin and the talented team at RFE/RL to bring news and information to priority countries from Iran to Russia and across Eurasia.”

BBG member Susan McCue, who serves as the RFE/RL board’s chair and spearheaded the effort to recruit Klose earlier this year, said: “Kevin has extensive experience in transformational leadership and has brought important changes to this highly respected media organization.”

An earlier version of the BBG press release wrongly identified Susan McCue as RFE/RL’s vice chair. She was appointed chair when former chair Dennis Mulhaupt resigned from BBG earlier this year.

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org), an independent NGO, also strongly supported Klose’s appointment and extension of his contract. Klose rehired some of the Radio Liberty journalists who were fired in Russia by RFE/RL’s previous management.

BBG Press Release

Kevin Klose
Kevin Klose

Acting Head Kevin Klose Appointed RFE/RL President And CEO

WASHINGTON –  Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Jeffrey Shell today announced that distinguished journalist and broadcast executive Kevin Klose has accepted an offer, unanimously supported by the BBG, to serve as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

In its capacity as RFE/RL’s corporate board of directors, the BBG had hired Klose as Acting President in January 2013.  Meeting today with RFE/RL leadership and staff at the organization’s headquarters in Prague, Shell noted that the entire board approved a multi-year contract for Klose, to be reviewed annually.

“Kevin Klose’s seasoning in international media — here and over his entire career — makes him the right person to carry out this critical mission,” Shell said.  ”His stewardship as brought steady progress.  We look forward to working with Kevin and the talented team at RFE/RL to bring news and information to priority countries from Iran to Russia and across Eurasia.”

Klose said, “As great an honor as it was for me to return to the Radios in January, I am even more excited to take this opportunity to lead RFE/RL as it continues its digital transformation while building on its hard-earned reputation for extraordinary, fact-based journalism.”

Klose was president of NPR from 1998 to 2008, and named President Emeritus in 2008. Before joining NPR, he directed the International Broadcasting Bureau at the U.S. Information Agency from 1997-1998. Klose first joined RFE/RL in 1992 as director of its Radio Liberty division, and as president of the network from 1994 to 1997 oversaw its relocation from Munich to Prague. Prior to this, he was an editor and reporter for The Washington Post for 25 years, including posts as Moscow bureau chief, city editor and deputy national editor. Klose is currently a tenured professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and served as dean of the journalism college from April 2009 to July 2012. He will be on leave from his faculty position while serving at RFE/RL. He earned a B.A. from Harvard and is the author of five books, including Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society.

“Kevin has extensive experience in transformational leadership and has brought important changes to this highly respected media organization,” said BBG member Susan McCue, who serves as the RFE/RL board’s chair and spearheaded the effort to recruit Klose earlier this year. “I have full faith in his ability to move things forward.  We are grateful that he could take an extended leave from the University of Maryland to remain at the helm of RFE/RL.”

Upon accepting the position in January, Klose said he was eager to lend a hand, adding, “I look forward to re-connecting with many friends in Prague and Russia and to working with the entire RFE/RL team.”

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