Former NBC news president and former Bloomberg Media chairman Andy Lack, who was brought in to fix the perennially troubled U.S. international media operations, is leaving after just six weeks on the job.
When last we checked three weeks ago, Lack was moving offices to get a better view and off on an overseas trip to check out the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ operations. The BBG oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
But Lack is in negotiations with NBC News to return to a top job there, according to report Tuesday in Variety, the entertainment news publication, dashing the hopes of State Department and BBG officials who wanted the high-powered media executive to energize U.S. overseas media operations.
The negotiations were spurred, Variety noted, by the crisis set off at NBC News by the Brian Williams debacle and suspension.
So rather than right the ship at BBG — he had talked about growing the operation, not cutting it — Lack is apparently going off to right the other ship.
The news is seen, we’re told, as a big setback for the BBG at an unfortunate time.
“Public diplomacy through this journalistic mission is a critically important tool in America’s foreign policy toolbox,” said former BBG member Michael Meehan, “And not to fix the structural problems now and losing a top pro like Andy would be a big loss to the mission.’