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Management And Governance

RFE/RL Senior Management

Thomas Kent


Thomas Kent is a specialist in international reporting, Russian affairs, and journalistic ethics. He joined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on June 27, 2016 after a career of more than 40 years at The Associated Press. Most recently, he was AP’s standards editor, responsible for the fairness and accuracy of the news agency’s content in text, photos, video, audio, interactives, and on social networks. He also served with AP as international editor, World Services editor, Moscow bureau chief, Brussels-based correspondent for European institutions and NATO, chief of operations in Tehran during the Iranian revolution, correspondent in Sydney, Australia, and Hartford, Connecticut, and foreign desk editor in New York. He founded the "Create Your Own Ethics Code" project for the Online News Association. He has written and spoken worldwide on journalistic ethics, including ethical issues for such new journalistic platforms as virtual reality and automated newswriting. An advisor to the Ethical Journalism Network, Kent has been a board member of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, a Pulitzer Prize juror in international reporting and an advisor to the Society of Professional Journalists on revisions to its ethics code. He was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, holds a degree in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University, and speaks Russian, French and Spanish. He has taught and advised at Columbia University since 1996.

Nenad Pejic

Vice President/Editor-in-Chief of Programming

Nenad Pejic, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, joined RFE/RL in 1993 when he was named the first director of RFE/RL's Balkan Service. Prior to joining RFE/RL, Pejic held various positions with Sarajevo Television including head of the News Department, Belgrade correspondent, and Program Director. He also served briefly as the Head of Publications and Public Relations at the European Institute for the Media. Pejic has lectured at universities in Ukraine, Georgia, Prague, and Montenegro, and spoken at international events such as NATO summits and the Salzburg Seminar, as well as to a number of non-governmental organizations around Europe.

Stephanie Schmidt

Acting Chief Financial Officer

Stephanie Schmidt, RFE/RL's Budget Director and Assistant Treasurer of the Corporation since 2016, was appointed Acting Chief Financial Officer on September 1, 2018; Schmidt also served as Acting CFO for a 15-month term in 2015-2016. Schmidt joined RFE/RL in 2007, working in Prague in administrative and project management with the News Division, then transferring in 2011 to Washington as Budget Officer. Schmidt has managed RFE/RL's budget through such challenges as U.S. government shutdowns, sequestration, the forcible closures of RFE/RL operations in Azerbaijan and Pakistan, and the transfer of Radio Free Iraq, as well as the recent period of growth that has brought additional funding for new programming initiatives for Russia and its periphery. Before joining RFE/RL, Schmidt worked at various international NGOs and think-tanks and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kosice, Slovakia (1999-2001). A graduate cum laude with a B.A. in International Studies from American University, Schmidt also holds a M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University

Benjamin Herman

General Counsel and Secretary

Benjamin Herman is RFE/RL's General Counsel and the Secretary of the Corporation. He graduated from Brown University in 1991 with a degree in Russian Studies, earned a Master's degree in Czech Language and Literature from UC Berkeley in 1994, and graduated from Stanford Law School in 1998. After receiving his law degree, he spent four years as an associate at the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell before joining RFE/RL in 2002.

Corporate Governance

RFE/RL, Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation, funded by the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an independent federal government agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media. USAGM Chairman Kenneth Weinstein serves as the chair of RFE/RL's corporate board.

Under IRS rules, RFE/RL, Inc. is a private, nonprofit Sec. 501(c) 3 corporation. Chartered in Delaware, it receives federal grants as a private grantee. RFE/RL maintains a corporate office in Washington, D.C.

RFE/RL's corporate board is made up of all members of USAGM:

Kenneth Weinstein

Kenneth Weinstein has been President and CEO of Hudson Institute since 2011. Since joining Hudson Institute in 1999, he has held several other positions, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Fellow, and Director of the Washington Office. Chairman Weinstein was confirmed as a member of the board on September 23, 2013, and as Acting Chairman on January 25, 2017.
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Dr. Leon Aron

Dr. Leon Aron is Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a position he has held since 1993. He was a weekly Contributor at the Voice of America’s Russian language radio and television show Gliadya iz Ameriki (Looking from America) from 1990 to 2004.
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Ambassador Ryan Crocker

Ambassador Ryan Crocker is currently a Diplomat in Residence at Princeton University. He is on a leave of absence from Texas A&M University as an Executive Professor. From 2010-2011 and 2013-2016, he served as Dean of the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M - a position from which he took a leave of absence to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012.
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Michael Kempner

Michael W. Kempner is the Founder, President, and CEO of MWW, a public relations firm he founded in 1986. He is board member of Goodwill Industries International and a Founding Board Member of ConnectOne Bancorp. He served on the White House Council for Community Solutions from 2010 to 2012.
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Ambassador Karen Kornbluh

Ambassador Karen Kornbluh is the Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Nielsen, responsible for global public policy, privacy strategy, and corporate social responsibility. Prior to joining Nielsen, Kornbluh was the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2009-2012. Previously, she was Policy Director for then-Senator Barack Obama.
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Jeffrey Shell

Jeffrey Shell was named Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group in September of 2013. He served as Chairman of NBC Universal International from 2011-2013 and as President of Comcast Programming Group from 2005 to 2011. Governor Shell served as Chairman of the board from August 1, 2013 until January 25, 2017.
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Secretary Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo is an attorney, former U.S. Congressman and CIA Director. He was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State on April 26, 2018. ​Secretary Pompeo serves on the BBG ex officio.

Heather Nauert

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs serves as the Secretary's representative on the Board. Heather Nauert became Acting Under Secretary on March 13, 2018.
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RFE/RL’s corporate officers

  • Thomas Kent, President
  • Benjamin Herman, General Counsel (Secretary)
  • Stephanie Schmidt, Acting Chief Financial Officer (Assistant Treasurer)

Role of USAGM

In addition to providing oversight, the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) serves as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of all U.S. civilian international media, including Voice of America, Radio and TV Marti, and the non-profit corporations that are BBG grantees: Radio Free Asia, RFE/RL, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra, Radio Sawa).