MEDIA

Susan Zirinsky To Take Over From David Rhodes As CBS News President

Zirinsky, who has been with CBS News for more than four decades, will be the first woman to lead the division.

CBS News President David Rhodes will be stepping down from his post in March, it was announced Sunday.

Taking his place will be Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky, who has been with CBS for more than four decades and will be the first woman to ever lead the division.

Rhodes publicly broke the news in a tweet, calling the eight years since he joined CBS News “incredible.”

In a statement released Sunday, Zirinsky, who has long been the head of “48 Hours,” emphasized that the change in title wouldn’t mean a change in goals. 

“This may be a new role, but the mission is the same: deliver quality, in-depth journalism and engaging storytelling,” she said. “CBS News has an incredible legacy to build on. The public’s interest today for news and information is intense, and CBS News is uniquely positioned to expand its reach.”

Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO of CBS Corporation, praised the president-to-be as “more highly respected and admired” than any other broadcast news producer.

“She is an exceptional leader, a creative force, and an outstanding and proven journalist,” he said. “Her energy, innovative instincts and competitive spirit are just what is needed to bring the best of CBS News to viewers on every platform.”

Come March 1, Rhodes will be a senior adviser to Ianniello and CBS News.

The shake-up arrives not long after the ousting of former CBS CEO Les Moonves and former “60 Minutes” Executive Producer Jeff Fager over sexual misconduct allegations.

In a follow-up tweet to his announcement on Sunday, Rhodes added, “The world we cover is changing, how we cover it is changing, and it’s the right time for me to make a change too.”

Zirinsky started at CBS News in 1972 during the Watergate scandal, when she became a desk assistant at the network’s Washington bureau while still a student at American University.

She later joined the “CBS Morning News” as an associate producer before moving on to the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and becoming a White House producer.

By 1987, Zirinsky was promoted to senior producer on “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and went on to serve in a series of production and reporting roles in the following years, covering China’s Tiananmen Square uprising, the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, and Operation Desert Storm, among other major stories.

CONVERSATIONS