Jarl Mohn, a veteran of radio and television, will be NPR’s new CEO, the organization’s board of directors announced Friday. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Media industry veteran Jarl Mohn will be NPR’s new CEO, the organization’s board of directors has announced.
Mohn, 62, currently sits on the board of directors at several media organizations, including Scripps Networks Interactive and Web analytics company comScore. He is also on the boards of KPCC Southern California Public Radio and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Announcing the hire, Kit Jensen, who chairs NPR’s board of directors, said Mohn has “an ability to find nuanced and new ideas.” He is slated to start work at NPR on July 1.
The move to NPR represents something of a return for Mohn — he worked as a radio disc jockey for about two decades before joining MTV as an executive in 1986. He later became president and CEO of E! Entertainment Television before moving on to other enterprises, including a stint on the board of XM Radio.
Mohn will be NPR’s fourth permanent or acting CEO since January 2009, following a procession of executives who served relatively short tenures: Vivian Schiller (2009-2011), Gary Knell (2011-2013) and Paul Haaga Jr., who became the company’s interim CEO last fall.
Knell left in August to become president and CEO at the National Geographic Society, which he said at the time was an opportunity “I could not turn down.”
The transition from Knell to Haaga the following month coincided with an announcement that NPR planned to offer voluntary buyouts to its employees in an effort to balance its budget.
Those financial issues are not yet settled: NPR’s budget for the current fiscal year includes a projected “operating cash deficit of $6.1 million, or 3 percent of revenues,” according to a note from Jensen explaining the buyout plan.
Here’s how Mohn’s career is described by his profile page at comScore:
“Mr. Mohn was the founding President of Liberty Digital Inc., a publicly traded subsidiary of Liberty Media Group involved in interactive television, cable television networks and Internet enterprises, and served as its Chief Executive Officer from June 1999 to March 2002.
Prior to founding Liberty Digital, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of E! Entertainment Television. From 1986 to 1989, Mr. Mohn was Executive Vice President and General Manager of MTV and VH1. His professional career also includes twenty years in radio.”
During his radio career, Mohn worked as an on-air personality using the name Lee Masters, which he continued to use for a number of years.
He also has been an angel investor in several digital media and mobile companies in recent years, according to his LinkedIn profile.