Jan 7, 2019 - Economy

Susan Zirinsky becomes first female president of CBS News

Credit: CBS News

CBS News senior executive producer and esteemed journalist Susan Zirinsky will replace David Rhodes as president of CBS News, becoming the first woman to head the network beginning in March.

Why it matters: Her appointment comes after a year of reckoning at CBS after its chairman, star anchor and producer were all ousted for accusations of sexual misconduct.

The details: The announcement was made Sunday by acting CBS CEO Joseph Ianniello.

  • According to Variety, Ianniello made the decision to replace Rhodes with Zirinsky "after finding out Rhodes hoped to try something different, according to a person familiar with the matter."
  • Variety also notes that Rhodes’ contract was believed to be coming up sometime in February. He has been CBS News' president since 2011.

Between the lines: Rhodes was not linked to any of the sexual misconduct drama that has plagued CBS News over the past year, but it makes sense that the network would welcome an experienced female journalist to lead the news division through a period of rebuilding.

"The #MeToo movement isn’t behind us, it’s alongside us in our thinking. There will be a new and more powerful human resources person in the news division that is working on culture change. It’s really important to me to have an environment where there is transparency, where you can talk, where there are reactions based on actions."
— Zirinsky in an interview with the Los Angeles Times

Zirinsky has been at CBS since 1972 and has worked her way up through various news roles that have touched live news production, field production, news documentary journalism and more. She currently serves as senior executive producer of true-crime series like 48 Hours and NCIS as well as other CBS primetime series, according to the network.

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