National Public Radio's chief executive is stepping down, the network's board of directors announced Thursday.
Ken Stern, who spent 10 years with the company as chief operating officer and chief executive officer, is leaving by "mutual agreement," the board said in a statement. Chairman Dennis L. Haarsager will serve as interim CEO while the board searches for a permanent replacement.
The board did not give a reason for Stern's departure.
Howard Stevenson, the board's vice chairman, praised Stern's contributions to NPR.
"During his tenure, Ken was instrumental in improving NPR's financial health and for initiating important work extending NPR's reach to various new platforms including satellite and digital distribution," he said. "Under his watch, NPR News significantly increased the number of staff, foreign and domestic bureaus and areas of coverage."
Stern said in a statement that he was proud of NPR's journalistic and financial achievements during his tenure.
"I have enormous respect for the management team I assembled and know they will keep NPR on this successful path," he added.
National Public Radio is a semi-independent, privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to public radio stations in the United States.
NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and also led to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service. The network was founded in 1970 with 30 employees and 90 public radio stations as charter members.
Like its fellow public radio networks American Public Media and Public Radio International, NPR produces and distributes news and cultural programming.
Its member stations are not required to broadcast all of these programs and most public radio stations broadcast programs from all three providers. Its flagship programs are two drive time news broadcasts, Morning Edition and the afternoon All Things Considered; both are carried by nearly all NPR member stations and in 2002 were the second-and third-most popular radio programs in the country. In a Harris poll conducted in 2005, NPR was voted the most trusted news source in the US.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969