Steven W. Korn, former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of CNN, has been named RFE/RL President and CEO by the board of directors of RFE/RL. In his new role, Korn will oversee RFE/RL’s broadcast operations to 21 countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.
“Steve Korn has a tremendous track record in the international media and communications field, and his leadership and wide-ranging experience will be of enormous value to RFE/RL,” said BBG Governor and RFE/RL Chairman Dennis Mulhaupt, who led the search for a new CEO.
Korn will take up his duties on July 11 and will be based at RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague. “I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to support RFE/RL’s crucial mission,” Korn said. “For 60 years, RFE has stood as an outstanding example of the power of free media, and RFE/RL’s journalists continue to persevere in some of the most challenging news environments in the world today.”
The announcement was made today at a meeting of RFE/RL’s board of directors, which consists of members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
“U.S. International Broadcasting is facing some tough challenges, not just from growing competition and tight budgets, but also from the increasingly sophisticated crackdown on free media in many countries around the world,” said BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson. “Steve knows the news business, and his experience will be essential as we look for ways to improve the efficiencies and increase cooperation among the five networks of U.S. International Broadcasting.”
Korn succeeds Jeffrey Gedmin, who stepped down in March after four years as RFE/RL president. The BBG expressed its appreciation to RFE/RL Senior Vice President Michael Marchetti for his distinguished service in managing the transition period as acting CEO.
Steven W. Korn served as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of CNN from 1996-2000, where he oversaw all operational, financial, technological, and other non-editorial functions for the CNN News Group on a global basis. In addition, he served on the supervisory board of German television news channel n-tv and on the board of CNN Plus, a Spanish language news service based in Madrid. Previously, Korn served as the Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (TBS), where he was responsible for all legal affairs of TBS and its subsidiaries worldwide. Following his 17 years at Turner Broadcasting, he assumed the role of publisher of the Daily Report, a legal newspaper, and GC South magazine, both located in Atlanta, Georgia. Before joining Turner in 1983, he was an attorney specializing in civil litigation involving media, entertainment and telecommunications issues.
Mr. Korn has extensive leadership experience as a director on a variety of public and private company boards and as a trustee for a range of leading cultural and educational not-for-profit institutions, including, Brown Shoe Company, Vassar College, SV Investment Partners and Precision IR Group. From 2000-2007, Mr. Korn served on the Board of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) where he was Chairman of the Investment and Compensation committees and was a member of the Executive, Strategic Planning, Finance and Budget, Programming, and Presidential Search committees.
Mr. Korn received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Vassar College in 1975, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa, and a juris doctor degree from Cornell University in 1978. At Cornell, he served as chancellor of the Cornell Law School Moot Court Board and a member of the National Moot Court Team.
The candidate search for this position was completed by the firm Spencer Stuart and the RFE/RL board thanked them for their outstanding efforts.