May 15, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and CEO Jamie Fly has announced his resignation, effective June 30, to move his family back to the United States and pursue an opportunity in the private sector. Former RFE/RL President and current board member Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin will serve as Interim President and CEO to provide steady and continued leadership as the RFE/RL Board of Directors carries out a search for a permanent President and CEO.
“I want to thank Jamie for his contributions to RFE/RL,” said Ambassador Karen Kornbluh, Chair of the RFE/RL Board of Directors. “As a result of his leadership and enduring strategic vision, RFE/RL is in a strong and stable position to carry out its mission, free from political interference, and reach growing audiences. He should be proud of this legacy.”
Fly was first named RFE/RL President and CEO in July 2019, and served until June 2020. After a brief period as a Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor to the President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, he resumed leadership of RFE/RL in February 2021 following his reappointment by the Board of Directors.
Fly’s tenure prioritized RFE/RL’s response to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine through an expansion of RFE/RL’s operations in Ukraine and programming for Russian audiences. He also expanded RFE/RL’s focus on Chinese malign influence across Eurasia. He oversaw a digital transformation of a news division that is reaching ever-growing audiences, opening new bureaus, and responding strategically to authoritarian censorship. RFE/RL staff will remember Fly’s relentless advocacy on behalf of detained and imprisoned colleagues, and his resolve to secure their safe release to their families.
“I am honored to have been able to serve twice at the helm of this iconic institution, and to have spent time with the brave and talented journalists and support staff who make RFE/RL’s success possible,” said Fly. “I am optimistic that despite the authoritarian challenges we face, RFE/RL is well-positioned to excel in our markets and grow our audiences at a time when our independent reporting is needed more than ever.”
Fly led the development of RFE/RL’s comprehensive plans to counter Russian and Chinese disinformation and reach surging audiences with trusted news. As part of these strategies, RFE/RL established new bureaus in Riga and Vilnius to house exiled journalists and produce new content offerings. RFE/RL is launching a Digital Innovation Lab and Digital Forensic Unit to respond to censorship and disinformation narratives and is making greater investments in investigative journalism.
Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin led RFE/RL from 2007 to 2011. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of American Purpose, and previously served as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, as Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and as Executive Director of the New Atlantic Initiative. He is the author and editor of several books focused on Germany and European security, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Together with former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norm Eisen, Dr. Gedmin is co-chair of the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group, hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
RFE/RL board members Margaret Hoover and Kristin Lord are leading the search process to select a permanent President and CEO. The Board of Directors has retained Russell Reynolds Associates to find a candidate who will build on Fly’s achievements and shepherd the organization into its next phase with continued bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress. Inquiries should be directed to RFERL.CEO@russellreynolds.com.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 40 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 15 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram in 2022. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.