BOSTON—Susan Goldberg will be the next president and CEO of GBH. Referred to as “a leader of technological and cultural transformation,” she is the first woman to hold this role since GBH was founded in 1951. She will take over from Jon Abbott, who is stepping down on Dec. 14.
Goldberg served as editor-in-chief at National Geographic from 2014 to 2022, including the additional role of editorial director in 2015. She and her team transformed the newsroom and its editorial strategy by diversifying its staff, expanding coverage, and executing a multiplatform plan to include social and digital platforms.
According to a statement, these changes took the brand to “more than 15 million readers a month on its website and more than 350 million followers on social media.”
During this time, National Geographic received 11 national magazine awards, was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times and won numerous awards for its stories, photos, podcasts, illustrations and graphics across platforms.
Goldberg also expanded National Geographic’s partnerships, creating content with organizations such as ABC News, The Undefeated, ProPublica and the National Geographic Channel, which is one of the major brands on Disney+. National Geographic is a joint venture between its majority owner, The Walt Disney Co., and the National Geographic Society.
“At a time when the media industry is changing at a rapid pace, Susan is a direct, focused, empathetic and visionary leader who has the operational and editorial savvy to understand what resonates with our audiences, along with deep experience in executing a multiplatform transformation,” said Ann Fudge, chair of the GBH Board of Trustees and head of the search committee.
Today, more than half of NatGeo’s stories are written by women, 30 percent of writers across the platform are people of color (up from three percent in 2015), and in 2021, five of the 12 magazine covers were photographed or illustrated by people of color.
Goldberg has been honored repeatedly for her leadership, including becoming the “leadership honoree” for her work in uplifting women by the International Women’s Media Foundation in 2020. She was named to the Top Women in Media list by Folio in 2020, was No. 7 on the “Badass50” list by InStyle magazine in 2020, was on Washington’s “most powerful” women list in Washingtonian Magazine in 2017, 2019 and 2021, and was honored with the “Exceptional Woman in Publishing” Award in 2015. She is a six-time juror for the esteemed Pulitzer Prize, a board member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and President of the Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
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