Jean Taylor will take over as president and CEO of American Public Media Group, which owns MPR News.
She is taking over for Jon McTaggart, who last September said he was stepping down after nearly decade leading the regional and national media outlet.
Taylor will assume the role as president and CEO on Aug. 23, a news release says. She is the first woman to lead the organization.
“Our goal throughout this seven-month process was to identify and select a strategic leader with a passion for public media, a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and a vision that will inspire our employees, listeners and donors,” Jim Dwyer, chair of the search committee and of APMG’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “We are confident Jean embodies these attributes and priorities and believe she is the right leader to take APMG forward.”
Related [Sept. 22, 2020]: MPR employees demand anti-racist action amid recent employee departures
Taylor joins APMG and MPR News after employees criticized leadership and launched a Transform MPR campaign to demand change, due to their concerns over gender and racial inequities, and how the news organization covers communities.
“It is an exciting and critical time for public media, with tremendous opportunities to deliver quality journalism in new ways, connect with new audiences and more intentionally serve diverse communities,” Taylor said in a statement. “I am honored to lead this organization alongside the talented team at APMG.”
Taylor, the daughter of billionaire Glen Taylor – who owns the Star Tribune, served as the chair of the Board of Star Tribune Media and was actually named to APMG's CEO search committee last October.
This – and the fact that her father is the owner of Minnesota's other major legacy media company – has in turn raised some concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
However, APMG spokesperson Kelly Reller says Jean Taylor "stepped down from her role as a search committee member" and "disengaged" from the board when she threw her hat into the ring for the CEO job, MPR News reports.
In an interview with MPR News, Taylor was asked if her father owning MPR News' main competitor represented a conflict of interest.
Here's her response:
"I really don't look at it as competitive. Certainly our newsrooms are the two largest newsrooms in this state. This is a very different organization, but the community needs news and information brought to it in many different formats. The Star Tribune brings it in one format. MPR brings it in another. But APMG is a much broader organization than just MPR, too. We have a national footprint. We've got a very strong footprint with Southern California Public Radio, and I look at it as not competitive at all. We collaborate with Star Tribune, and I think we will continue to do that."
“Jean has brought great strategic insight and passion to her role as the chair of the Star Tribune board,” Michael Klingensmith, publisher and CEO of Star Tribune, said in a statement.
“We are grateful for her years of leadership and service to our board and Star Tribune as a whole. Jean leaves our organization a better place, and APMG is very fortunate to have a skilled leader like Jean as its CEO.”
Taylor has stepped down from her board position with Star Tribune Media.