Ex-NPR CEO's Buyout Draws Attention
August 17, 2009 at 4:55 AM (PT)
Former NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO CEO KEN STERN received $1.3 million compensation for his last year at the network, about $900,000 of which represented a buyout of his contract, reports NPR's DAVID FOLKENFLIK. STERN became CEO in 2006 after eight years as COO and was fired in MARCH 2008; his annual salary was about $426,000 in the year previous to his dismissal.
"When I negotiated my CEO contract," STERN told NPR in a statement, "I wanted assurances that I would have the time to implement this plan and undertake what would be very difficult political, cultural and operational shifts. To that end, I sought a contract that offered me duration rather than salary — in fact, I said that I would take whatever salary the Board deemed appropriate.
"When the Board chose to exercise its right to change CEOs in 2008, despite the fact that NPR was exceeding every financial goal and audience growth target online and on-air, it did so with the knowledge it had the legal obligation to make good immediately on the terms of my contract."
The network made no official comment on the matter but told employees that no taxpayer dollars went to the buyout and the company no longer makes long-term contracts, including with STERN's replacement, VIVIAN SCHILLER.