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|Mary Bitterman Leaves KQED Public Broadcasting to Head Irvine Foundation;
Led KQED's Resurgence During Eight-Year Tenure|
San Francisco, California, November 8, 2001 -- Mary G. F. Bitterman, president and CEO of KQED, today announced her resignation, concluding an eight-year tenure during which she led the Northern California public broadcasting organization from near-bankruptcy to sound financial health, renewed community support, a renaissance in program development and a strategy for the digital future.
Bitterman has accepted the position of president and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation. The Board of Directors of the Foundation announced the appointment today following a seven-month national search. Bitterman succeeds Dennis A. Collins, who has served as president & CEO of Irvine since 1986. Bitterman's resignation from KQED is effective early next year.
"I have been honored to serve the people of Northern California as head of their public broadcasting center for the past eight years. I am grateful for the opportunity and for the tremendous support I have received from the staff of KQED and the community," said Bitterman. "KQED is a vibrant, growing organization providing valuable services to a supportive community, and I leave with enormous confidence and optimism about the future."
"KQED has a strategic plan and the financial resources to utilize digital technology to expand programming and services in the coming years. With our talented staff, professional management team, and dedicated Board of Directors and Community Advisory Panel, KQED is in very good hands and the future is, indeed, bright."
Bitterman was appointed president and CEO of KQED in November 1993 in the midst of financial setbacks, staff layoffs, program cancellations, disputes among the board, criticism in the local press, and a resulting crisis of confidence among KQED supporters. Through a series of financial measures, management changes, a focus on the public broadcasting mission and tireless efforts to reach out to all segments of the Northern California community, Bitterman led the organization out of difficult times and into what is arguably the strongest position in KQED's 47-year history.
During Bitterman's tenure, KQED developed its first-ever strategic plan to guide the organization into the digital broadcasting era and launched the KQED Campaign for the Future to fund digital conversion and new programming initiatives. Three years into a five-year campaign, KQED has secured $52 million toward a $70 million goal. KQED also has generated double-digit growth in its operations annually for five years, dramatically increasing the production of original programming for radio and television, and launching services on the Internet.
"Mary Bitterman has had a powerful and lasting positive impact on KQED during her eight years," said Jerome B. Falk, Jr., chair, KQED Board of Directors. "Her accomplishments will accrue to the benefit of KQED and the community for many years to come. I am profoundly sorry to see her leave, but also grateful that she is leaving the organization in such outstanding condition. She took on a difficult challenge in 1993 and succeeded spectacularly."
In her new position, Bitterman will lead an organization that has provided generous support to public broadcasters, and KQED in particular, over the years. The James Irvine Foundation has granted nearly $20 million to support public broadcasting in California, including more than $5 million to KQED to support the launch and expansion of major programming initiatives, including The California Report, KQED Public Radio's daily statewide news and public affairs program, and Bay Window, KQED Public Television's Emmy Award-winning series exploring issues that affect lives in the Bay Area and reflect civic life nationwide.
The James Irvine Foundation is an independent grantmaking foundation dedicated to enhancing the social, economic and physical quality of life throughout California, and to enriching the state's intellectual and cultural environment. The Foundation was established in 1937 by James Irvine, the California pioneer whose 110,000-acre ranch in Southern California was among the largest privately owned land holdings in the state. With assets of $1.5 billion, the Foundation makes grants of approximately $70 million annually for the people of California.
KQED operates KQED Public Television 9, the nation's most-watched public television station, and Digital Television 30, Northern California's only public television digital signal; KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM, the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation; the KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources; and KQED.org, which harnesses the power of the Internet to bring KQED to communities across the Web.