PBS programming vet Wilson, education s.v.p. Lippincott exiting in January

By Dru Sefton

Wilson

Wilson

Two more senior v.p.s are leaving PBS: John Wilson, a PBS programmer for nearly 20 years, and Rob Lippincott, who has led the network’s education strategy and partnerships since 2007.

Their exits, which take effect Jan. 3, bring the total number of executive-level departures within the past four months to six.

In a Dec. 13 memo to station managers, President Paula Kerger noted that Wilson has served the network “with tremendous insight, understanding, and leadership. During his time at PBS, he helmed some of the most memorable and award-winning PBS series and specials in our history.”

Wilson wrote in the memo that he has been “approached about opportunities beyond PBS” within the past year and he now believes “it is time to pursue these options more seriously.”

Wilson served as PBS’s top programmer until last December, when he was reassigned to s.v.p., pledge strategy and special projects.  At that time, Beth Hoppe, who had been one of his deputies, was elevated to run the department.

Lippincott is leaving to become a venture partner with an investment firm targeting the education sector, Kerger said in the memo. He has been a “passionate advocate” for public media in education, she wrote, and was a key architect of PBS LearningMedia, the online portal for teachers that has some 1.4 million registered users. Previous to PBS, Lippincott was an s.v.p. at Discovery Communications, guiding product development for the home and school divisions of Discovery Education.

In her memo, Kerger added that she “will always consider them part of the PBS family.”

The exodus among top PBS managers began in September. PBS digital head Jason Seiken left to take a job as chief content officer and editor-in-chief at the Telegraph Media Group in London. That same month, chief technologist John McCoskey headed to an executive position with the Motion Picture Association of America.

In October, Joyce Herring, station services v.p., left due to, as Kerger put it, “a series of unexpected circumstances requiring her immediate attention.”

And in November, Jon Brendsel, v.p. of product development, announced he was also taking a position with Telegraph Media in London.

The turnover reflects similar movement throughout the pubcasting system, with leadership transitions underway at some 50 local stations as of November.

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