NPR announced Wednesday that Katherine Maher will be its next chief executive, choosing a leader with an extensive track record in the nonprofit world but not within the realm of public radio.
Ms. Maher was previously chief executive of the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the popular online resource Wikipedia by raising funds and providing technology infrastructure, among other services. She is the chief executive of Web Summit, an organization that organizes technology events around the world.
Jennifer Farrow, chair of the board of NPR, said in a statement that Ms. Maher stood out because of her experience dealing with “issues of reliable and accessible information,” adding that the search was focused on candidates who were “on new and existing platforms.” could reach the audience.”
Ms. Maher, 40, takes over at NPR during a crucial period. Listeners to traditional radio are declining as Americans turn to alternatives like Spotify and other on-demand services, putting pressure on NPR to reach its audience in new formats.
Last year, NPR announced it was laying off 10 percent of its staff to close a $30 million budget shortfall amid a slumping advertising market. But the network’s revenue has grown steadily in recent years, partly due to more sponsorship on digital platforms – the public radio equivalent of advertising.
In a statement, Ms. Maher called NPR “a lifelong part of my soundscape,” which expanded her worldview and piqued her curiosity. He said the network needed to “reinvent and reimagine itself to keep pace with our changing world.”
“I am extremely excited to take on this challenge and join NPR as a steward of our mission to establish the values of news, curiosity and culture for a diverse, strong public trust,” Ms. Maher said in a statement. “
Ms. Maher starts March 25.