NPR’s chief executive, John Lansing, said Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the year, ending a rocky four years at the helm of the public broadcaster.
In an email to staff on Tuesday, Mr. Lansing said he informed the board of his decision in May, and that NPR is now in the early stages of a national search for his successor. He said he made the decision to retire after discussions with his wife Jean.
“Beginning my career as a studio technician in 1975, and since then having had the privilege of working with some of the most iconic organizations in American media, it feels right to me, and we look forward to it as a family,” he wrote.
A veteran media executive, Mr. Lansing joined NPR as its chief executive in 2019 after running the US Agency for Global Media. During his tenure, the NPR faced serious financial difficulties, some of which were brought on by the pandemic. In early 2020, executives including Mr. Lansing took pay cuts to help with budget shortfalls. In February of this year, NPR laid off 10 percent of its staff, more than 100 people, to fill a $30 million budget shortfall that Mr. Lansing attributed to slowing advertising revenue and fewer corporate sponsorships.
NPR is also amid questions about how it treats people from diverse backgrounds after several of its high-profile hosts who are women of color, including Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Noel King and Audie Cornish, leave the broadcaster.
In a statement Tuesday, NPR said that under Mr. Lansing’s leadership, more than 40 percent of NPR’s executive team are now people of color, up from 9 percent in 2019, while 42 percent of the workforce of broadcasters identified as people of color. , up from 33 percent in 2019. During Mr. Lansing’s tenure, NPR won more than 90 awards for its journalism, including its first Pulitzer Prize award in 2021.