Updated: 5:20 p.m.
Editor’s note: Journalists at MPR make independent editorial decisions and cover American Public Media Group as we would any other company.
The parent company of MPR News has a new leader. After a seven-month national search led by a committee put together by its board, American Public Media Group announced Wednesday that Jean Taylor will become its next president and CEO on Aug. 23.
Taylor takes over from Jon McTaggart who announced last year he would step down after leading the organization for about a decade. She will become the first woman to serve as president of the national and regional media company.
Taylor’s career includes several leadership roles. She’s also a Minnesota Public Radio board trustee. Most recently she worked as an executive consultant of the Platinum Group helping small to mid-sized business owners grow. She also comes to the public media organization after a seven-year stint as board chair of the Star Tribune where she focused on digital transformation.
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"I believe I'm at a point in my career where I can give back and say there is a lot that I have learned from business that I think in a changing media landscape that we can utilize to be more agile and innovative and be prepared for the future of what media is going to bring us,” Taylor said in an interview with MPR News.
In an announcement to Minnesota Public Radio staff, Jim Dwyer, chair of the search committee, said its goal was to select a leader with a passion for public media and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“And a vision that will inspire our employees, listeners and donors,” Dwyer said. “We are confident Jean embodies these attributes and priorities and believe she is the right leader to take APMG forward.”
Taylor comes to the organization after employees publicly criticized its leadership and voiced concerns over gender and racial inequities. Last year, a group of employees launched Transform MPR to demand a cultural shift in how the organization uses its resources, and how it covers its communities.
Additionally, in July of last year, the executive leadership drafted 12 steps toward improving workplace culture, which included items like a pay equity study, recruitment of employees of color and mandatory cultural fluency training.
In a note sent to staff Wednesday, APMG leadership said the search committee focused on interviewing a range of diverse, transformational and inspirational candidates who have a passion for public media, are committed to diversity and inclusion and are strategic and visionary leaders. The board said it found Taylor to be the best fit for the role.
Taylor was named to the CEO search committee last October. APMG spokesperson Kelly Reller said Taylor "stepped down from her role as a search committee member" and "disengaged" from the board when she entered the candidate selection process.
MPR News reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this story.