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New Head of RFE/RL Is Former CNN Exec

Steve Korn replaces Jeffrey Gedmin

The arm of U.S. international broadcasting that targets listeners and viewers in Iran, Afghanistan and other hot spots has a new leader.

Steven W. Korn, former vice chairman and chief operating officer of CNN, has been named president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

He will oversee its broadcast operations to 21 countries, which also include Pakistan and Russia.

Korn succeeds Jeffrey Gedmin, who stepped down in March after four years as RFE/RL president. Senior VP Michael Marchetti held down the fort as acting CEO.

BBG Governor and RFE/RL Chairman Dennis Mulhaupt led the search for a new CEO and pointed to Korn’s “tremendous track record in the international media and communications field.”

Korn will take up his duties on July 11 and will be based at headquarters in Prague. In the statement, he said,”For 60 years, RFE has stood as an outstanding example of the power of free media, and RFE/RL’s journalists continue to persevere in some of the most challenging news environments in the world today.”

The announcement was made at a meeting of RFE/RL’s board, which consists of members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

”Steve knows the news business,” said BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson. He said Korn’s challenges will include looking for ways to improve the efficiencies and increase cooperation among the five networks of U.S. international broadcasting.

Korn was vice chairman and chief operating officer of CNN from 1996–2000. He was on the supervisory board of German television news channel n-tv and on board of CNN Plus, a Spanish-language news service in Madrid. He’s worked at Turner Broadcasting Systems; the Daily Report, a legal newspaper; and GC South magazine. He also was an attorney.

He’s a former member of the board at the Public Broadcasting Service.