On Thursday, the Broadcasting Board of Governors was left with another empty seat, after interim presiding Governor Michael Lynton announced that he would be vacating his post, effective immediately.
At a time when BBG’s role in foreign policy has been a matter of debate and the board been trying to implement large-scale changes in its management structure and distribution infrastructure, the panel itself appears seriously depleted.
Just last month, another member, Dennis Mulhaupt, stepped down; three others have left since the beginning of last year; and Lynton had been serving as interim presiding governor since February 2012.
The board is now down to four members instead of nine; and one of those four is Secretary of State John Kerry, who serves as an ex-officio member.
And while the board will continue to oversee BBG operations, according to Director of Communications and External Affairs Lynne Weil in an email to Radio World, it “will not be able to take some actions through voting; under law, a quorum for this board is five members.”
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Lynton didn’t delve into specific reasons for his abrupt departure, but did indicate time and scheduling conflicts: “circumstances kept me from taking part in their recent formal meetings,” he wrote.
In his letter, the Harvard Business graduate and CEO of Sony Entertainment Inc. also praised the journalists and staff at the BBG for their efforts “against steep odds, and in many cases amid some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.”
When asked whether there were any outstanding nominee to fill these positions, Weil said that there were three nominees under consideration before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Those waiting in the wings include Jeff Shell, who was nominated to chair the board last fall and then renominated in January; Matt Armstrong, nominated in April; and Amb. Ryan Crocker, nominated this month.
As for when we can expect these positions to be filled, Weil said, “The Senate controls the timing of the confirmations process for nominees.”
Paul McLane contributed to this report.