Kate O’Brian has been appointed president of Al Jazeera America.
O’Brian has been senior vice president of ABC News since 2007, having held various roles within the media organisation over the past 30 years.
Reporting to Ehab Al Shihabi, the newly named interim chief executive of the organisation, she has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of Al Jazeera America’s strategy and editorial operations.
“Kate’s arrival speaks volumes about what we intend to do and how we intend to do it,” said Mostefa Souag, the acting director general of Al Jazeera. “She is a highly experienced and award-winning journalist who fully understands what Americans want to see and hear when they watch the news.”
The announcement of Ms O’Brian’s appointment follows a personnel search that began shortly after Al Jazeera acquired Current TV — the low-rated channel co-founded by former Vice-President Al Gore. That acquisition, announced in January, provided Al Jazeera with something it had been seeking for years: access to tens of millions of American viewers.
In addition, CNN’s David Doss has been named senior vice president for news programming; Marcy McGinnis, a CBS News veteran, has been appointed senior vice-president, newsgathering; and Shannon High-Bassalik, formerly of CNN and MSNBC, will serve as senior vice-president, documentaries and programs.
O’Brian said in a statement: “As I bring everything I learned to this new role, I’m looking forward to showing the Al Jazeera viewers that there is a strong demand for the type of in-depth reporting for which Al Jazeera is so well known.”
Al Jazeera America, which is scheduled to launch on 20 August this year, will be headquartered in New York City and have 12 bureaus in key cities around the US.