Katherine Maher, deeply experienced executive, will be NPR’s new CEO

NPR has revealed its newly appointed CEO: Katherine Maher, announced on the network’s news and commentary program All Things Considered.


“NPR has selected former Wikimedia Foundation chief Katherine Maher to lead the network through an era of declining broadcast listenership, financial uncertainty and technological turbulence.” — NPR, transcribed from All Things Considered.


Maher will inherit the seat now occupied by John Lansing, who took the top job in September, 2019, when he replaced outgoing chief executive Jarl Mohn. Lansing recently announced his resignation.

Katherine Maher’s resume is stacked with high-level executive and board positions —  19 of them by our count, across 15 organizations. Notable roles in that resume (and the one job highlighted by NPR’s announcement) is CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, a position she filled for over five years.

She is 40 years old, and NPR’s 12th CEO.

Maher’s job roles with international scope include positions in the World Economic Forum, U.S. Department of State, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council, and the Truman National Security Project.

In characterizing her view of NPR’s listener-facing mission, Maher said “It’s about matching need and delight so people have a real desire to keep coming back, to engage with what it is that we offer.”

She has never worked in journalism, or in a news organization. That observation will seem strange to some, and like a breath of fresh air and broad perspective to others. “[She] offers visionary corporate leadership and proven fundraising strengths,” said NPR board chair Jennifer Ferro, who led the search committee and is president of KCRW. “NPR is a powerhouse, and it needs to be more ubiquitous,” she said on All Things Considered.

The All Things Considered segment which serves as Maher’s announcement is transcribed HERE, provides much more context, and is worth reading.


Brad Hill