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Photo: Courtesy of MSNBC

Rashida Jones will be the next president of MSNBC, Axios has confirmed. She will replace longtime MSNBC executive Phil Griffin when she starts on Feb. 1.

Why it matters: Griffin has been with MSNBC since it was founded 25 years ago and has worked in the NBC News family for 35 years. His legacy includes hiring and elevating major talent, including Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinksi, as well as overseeing the launches of major programs both in daytime and prime time.

Details: According to a note sent to staff by Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, Griffin let Conde know after the election that he wanted to leave. He has agreed to stay on at MSNBC through the end of January to ensure a smooth transition. 

Jones is a well-respected industry veteran, and she's been with MSNBC for seven years.

  • In his note, Conde credited Jones with having helped lead the company through major breaking news events this year, including the pandemic and the election.
  • She is credited with having helped the network launch a slew of digital products, including NBC News' new streaming service, NBC News Now.

The big picture: The move is the first major shakeup in the news division under Conde, who was appointed head of the newly formed NBCUniversal News Group — which includes MSNBC, CNBC and NBC News — in May.

  • Earlier this year, Conde said that he wanted to eventually have 50% of news organization employees be women and 50% of their total workforce be people of color.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Women take press lead in Biden era

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Women will overwhelmingly guide coverage of the White House and politics during the Biden administration, propelled by a slew of newly appointed leaders at major TV and radio networks, newspapers and digital outlets.

Why it matters: While female representation in the Washington press corps has steadily grown, what's changed most recently is the number of women in front of and behind cameras and bylines.

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.

Exclusive: Sen. Coons sees new era of bipartisanship on China

Sen. Chris Coons. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a "shock to the system," propelling members of Congress toward the goal of shoring up America's ability to compete with China, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Axios during an interview Thursday.

Why it matters: Competition between China's authoritarian model and the West's liberal democratic one is likely to define the 21st century. A bipartisan response would help the U.S. present a united front.