NPR Names Tech Executive Katherine Maher as CEO
January 26, 2024
The board of directors of NPR announced Wednesday (1/24) that it has selected Katherine Maher to become its next president and chief executive officer. Katherine Maher has spent her career at the intersection of democracy, human rights, information, and technology. She is a mission-driven leader who recently completed a highly successful tenure at the Wikimedia Foundation where she drove unprecedented growth in global readership and impact, while doubling fundraising income and raising an endowment to ensure Wikipedia's enduring sustainability.
"We are delighted to welcome Katherine Maher to lead NPR into its next chapter," said Jennifer Ferro, Chair of the NPR board. "The board searched for a leader with the ability to reach audiences on new and existing platforms and leverage the network of local organizations that are providing high quality, relevant content to 99% of the country. Katherine is an extraordinary leader who has tackled the issues around reliable and accessible information for all."
Incoming CEO Katherine Maher says, "NPR has been a lifelong part of my soundscape, expanding my worldview and stoking my curiosity. NPR inspired in me an appreciation for the power of civic institutions and a commitment to free inquiry and information. As NPR's mission of informing America continues to grow more essential; so too does our need 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."
Katherine Maher is currently the CEO of Web Summit and serves on its board of directors. Maher is an experienced executive leading public interest institutions through technological disruption and strategic transformation in areas of information and media, good governance and democracy, civil and human rights, international development and foreign policy.
Prior to joining Web Summit, Maher was CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, responsible for the success of Wikipedia, one of the world's most popular digital platforms. Over the course of seven years, she successfully led Wikimedia's growth in new and emerging markets, achieved major gains in global site readership, reversed decades-long declines in core contributors, and drove growth among previously underserved audiences. Under her leadership, Wikimedia reshaped its vision by making Wikipedia's platform, website, and apps more welcoming, technologically flexible, and best-in-class, so that it could continue to delight and engage people of all backgrounds, and fulfill the mission of building the sum of all knowledge for all people. Maher led Wikipedia to its highest brand trust since its founding, navigating the misinformation crisis and global trust decline in media, while doubling the Foundation's fundraising and raising Wikimedia's first endowment. Before Wikimedia, she worked on human rights, democracy, and innovation at Access Now, the World Bank, the National Democratic Institute, and UNICEF.
Maher will begin her term at NPR on March 25th and will succeed John Lansing, who has been chief executive officer and president since 2019. Lansing led NPR through the COVID-19 pandemic, which included implementing a task force that created NPR's first organization-wide hybrid and remote work policies. The main goal of his tenure was uniting NPR and Member stations under the "North Star" of diversifying the newsroom, content, and audiences. Throughout his tenure, Lansing maintained the organization's commitment to producing the highest quality news coverage. NPR is currently rated the most trustworthy news brand (among 13 major news brands), per a brand study by Research Narrative.