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RFE/RL Announces Thomas Kent as New President

RFE/RL President Thomas Kent
RFE/RL President Thomas Kent

WASHINGTON - Thomas Kent, a longtime Associated Press journalist, has been appointed the new President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), effective June 27.

In his announcement of the appointment, Jeff Shell, the Chairman of RFE/RL’s Board of Directors, said, “Tom was chosen in a competitive selection process from a strong field of candidates. RFE/RL will benefit enormously from such an outstanding leader.” Shell, who also serves as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), continued, “Tom’s track record in digital news expansion and his collaborative leadership style aligns with the BBG’s vision of a unified, innovative and effective U.S. International Media.”

Mr. Kent is a skilled media executive with extensive experience in management, international reporting and journalism standards development. He has worked at The Associated Press since 1972, filling roles such as Moscow Bureau Chief, International Editor, Deputy Managing Editor and, most recently, Standards Editor. In these positions, he played a leading role in the editorial and technical transformation of AP into a fully digital news organization. He has also been involved in corporate strategic planning and the development of new multimedia services.

Commenting on Kent’s appointment, BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing said, “Our winning strategy is our talented staff. Tom joins a cadre of committed journalists around the world with the simple goal of ensuring that everyone has access to impartial, independent and professional news and information about their communities that helps citizens take more control over their lives. He brings extensive experience in developing successful digital media strategies and joins us at a highly dynamic time when BBG networks are streamlining and employing content in creative and impactful ways. I am thrilled to welcome him on board.”

“I am honored to be leading RFE/RL,” Kent said. “I look forward to joining its highly skilled team as we create great journalism across languages and geographies.”

Kent has served as a member of the advisory board of the Ethical Journalism Network, leader of the Online News Association’s Build Your Own Ethics Code project, advisor for the Society of Professional Journalists and international reporting juror for the Pulitzer Prizes. He has written and spoken extensively on journalism ethics and has a particular interest in Russian news media. Kent has taught at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University and has guest lectured at Yale University, Moscow State University, St. Petersburg University of Trade Unions, Columbia Law School, and New York University, among others. He speaks four languages and is fluent in Russian. He is a graduate of Yale University.

Shell and Lansing praised Acting RFE/RL President Nenad Pejic for his leadership and guidance since taking over after Kevin Klose stepped down in 2014.

“I am delighted to hand over the reins to Tom,” said Pejic. “I believe his passion for journalism will ensure that RFE/RL continues to deliver programs that have a positive effect on people’s lives."