David Rhodes to Step Down as CBS News President, Susan Zirinsky to Take Over

Rhodes has been president of network news operation since 2011

David Rhodes Susan Zirinsky CBS
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CBS News president David Rhodes announced on Sunday that he will step down after eight years, with Susan Zirinsky to take over.

Zirinsky, who had been senior executive producer for “48 Hours,” will add the president title beginning in March. When she does, she will be the first female news chief in the network’s long history. Rhodes will transition to a senior adviser role for CBS News, as well as to the permanent CEO of CBS — Joe Ianniello has filled the role following the resignation of Leslie Moonves. Rhodes’ contract was set to expire in 2019.

“It’s been eight incredible years since I joined @CBS. I’m pleased to announce that I’ll soon be handing the reins @CBSNews to Susan Zirinsky, our Senior Executive Producer,” Rhodes wrote on Sunday during the Golden Globes broadcast on NBC. He added in a subsequent tweet: “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 #2019goals.”

Rhodes was named CBS News president in 2011. During his tenure, the network launched “CBS This Morning,” which replaced “The Early Show,” as well as launching the 24-hour digital streaming network, CBSN.

However, his last year-plus was plagued by multiple sexual misconduct scandals within the news division. “CBS This Morning” anchor Charlie Rose was fired in 2017 after multiple sexual misconduct accusations. Last year, “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager, who was also accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, was fired for sending a threatening text message to CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, who was covering the accusations against him.

“No broadcast news producer is more highly respected and admired than Susan Zirinsky,” Ianniello said, in a statement. “She is an exceptional leader, a creative force, and an outstanding and proven journalist.  Her energy, innovative instincts and competitive spirit are just what is needed to bring the best of CBS News to viewers on every platform.”

Zirinsky is a long-time veteran of CBS News, having begun as a part-time desk assistant in the CBS Washington Bureau in 1972.

“I have been honored to work closely throughout my career with great CBS News journalists,” Zirinsky added in a statement of her own. “This may be a new role, but the mission is the same: deliver quality, in-depth journalism and engaging storytelling. 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.”