RFE/RL board meets, no letter of resignation from Steven Korn arrived, search for replacement continues

BBG Watch Commentary

RFE/RL LogoThe Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate board, which is composed of all members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), met today in a teleconference for about an hour, several sources within the BBG administration in Washington told BBG Watch, but the expected letter of resignation from RFE/RL president and CEO Steven Korn did not arrive and no formal action was taken with regard to his future. Sources told us, however, that all RFE/RL board members now agree that Korn must leave his post by the end of January 2013. They had asked him earlier to resign because his firing of dozens of Radio Liberty journalists in Moscow and his selection of Masha Gessen to be the new Russian Service director have turned human rights leaders, opposition political figures, and former listeners and supporters in Russia against the station.

Several sources indicated that a letter of resignation from Korn may come later today with the effective resignation date toward the end of January 2013. Keep checking BBG, RFE/RL, and BBG Watch websites.

All BBG members and a State Department official representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in the RFE/RL board meeting, including Dana Perino, a Republican member who is resigning today. The BBG interim presiding governor Michael Lynton participated in the meeting briefly by phone from Asia.

The RFE/RL board chair is BBG Governor Dennis Mulhaupt. The co-chair is BBG Governor Susan McCue who has taken an increasingly active role to resolve the Radio Liberty crisis. The most active BBG member on this issue has been Ambassador Victor Ashe who had issued numerous warnings about the meltdown at RFE/RL.

According to sources within the BBG administration, RFE/RL board decided to make it a formal meeting despite an earlier proposal from RFE/RL board chair Dennis Mulhaupt that it should be an informal meeting, which would prevent taking a vote. Mulhaupt was viewed as Korn’s last remaining supporter among BBG members, but sources told us that even he has reconciled himself to the idea that Korn must leave RFE/RL.

Meanwhile, sources tell us, BBG members continue to look for an interim and/or permanent replacement for Korn. According to sources, a search committee has been formed and several potential candidates have already been contacted to see if they might be available to take the position either on an interim or permanent basis.

Names being discussed, according to sources, include former RFE/RL presidents and former BBG members, and heads of various NGOs.

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