CBS Corp. President and acting CEO Joe Ianniello announced Sunday night the appointment of Susan Zirinsky as president of CBS News, effective March 1. She will succeed David Rhodes, who has been at the helm of the news division since 2011. Zirinsky, a veteran CBS news executive, will be the first woman president for the 90-year old network.
Zirinsky has been with the network since 1972 and served in various producer roles, including for “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and “Eye to Eye.” Zirinsky was CBS’ White House producer for more than a decade, having first joined the CBS Evening News as a producer in 1979. She is currently senior executive producer for “48 Hours.” Late last year she was seriously considered for the executive producer role for 60 Minutes, following Jeff Fager’s exit from the flagship program. As CBS News president, she will now decide who will take that role.
Ianniello stated: “Susan has touched virtually every division and every CBS News broadcast over the decades she’s worked here. During this period when the world is consuming more news and information than ever before, the importance of our news division couldn’t be greater. It requires a leader with experience, passion, and commitment to excellence, particularly here at CBS News where we have expanded aggressively digitally and globally. I can think of no one more equipped than ‘Z’ for the job, and we are delighted she has welcomed these new responsibilities.”
The appointment of a woman as a top executive of a news division is especially significant as it comes when the company is still dealing with several accusations regarding executive misconduct; and with high-level departures, including former CEO Leslie Moonves, “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager and “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose.