Knell soothed the first,but won't be around to answer the last. He abruptly served notice Monday that he is leaving the storied organization to take the helm of the National Geographic Society, according to documents posted on NPR's web properties. "I was approached by the organization recently and offered an opportunity that, after discussions with my family, I could not turn down." Knell said in a memo to NPR employees.
Knell joined NPR in December of 2011, after the organization experienced a fundraising controversy as well as another imbroglio which saw NPR analyst Juan Williams dismissed over comments he made while appearing on Fox News Channel. Knell came from the non-profit Sesame Workshop and had to reassure a staff that had grown disenchanted with the manner in which the previous topper, Vivian Schiller, ran the place.
Knell had a two-year contract, according to NPR, and he and the group's board had been working on an extension, NPR continues to face budget shortfalls, but has been placing more emphasis on collaborations between NPR and its member stations as a way of moving forward.
Knell will remain with NPR until November. The board will begin considering a successor in September, NPR said.
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