Katherine Maher Named C.E.O. of NPR

NPR announced on Wednesday that Katherine Maher would be its next chief executive, picking a leader with an extensive track record in the nonprofit world but without one in the realm of public radio.

Ms. Maher was previously the chief executive of the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the popular online resource Wikipedia by raising money and providing technology infrastructure, among other services. She is the chief executive of Web Summit, an organization that holds technology events around the world.

Jennifer Ferro, the chair of NPR’s board, said in a statement that Ms. Maher stood out because of her experience tackling “issues around reliable and accessible information,” adding that the search focused on candidates who could “reach audiences on new and existing platforms.”

Ms. Maher, 40, will take over at NPR during a critical period. Listenership of traditional radio is waning as Americans adopt alternatives like Spotify and other on-demand services, pressuring NPR to reach its audiences in new formats.

Last year, NPR announced that it was laying off 10 percent of its staff to make up for a $30 million budget shortfall amid a bearish advertising market. But the network’s revenue has grown steadily in recent years, partly because of more sponsorships — the public radio equivalent of advertising — on digital platforms.

In a statement, Ms. Maher called NPR “a lifelong part of my soundscape” that expanded her worldview and stoked her curiosity. She said that the network needed to “reinvent and reimagine ourselves in step with our ever-changing world.”

“I am tremendously excited to take on this challenge and join NPR as a steward of our mission and founding values of news, curiosity, and culture for a diverse, robust public trust,” Ms. Maher said in her statement.

Ms. Maher starts on March 25.


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