NPR announced that it has named Southern California businessman Paul Haaga Jr. L’74 — a member of NPR’s board and former chairman of the L.A.-based investment firm Capital Research and Management Co. — as its new interim chief executive officer.
Haaga is joining NPR’s helm at a challenging time for public radio, which is facing pressure to adapt to smart phones and tablets and engage a younger, more diverse audience.
Both Jensen and Knell said in an email on Friday that Haaga is “intimately familiar” with the organization as vice chair of the board and chair of the finance committee.
"He is a passionate supporter of our journalism and programming and a skilled and effective business leader who understands complex organizations such as ours," Jensen and Knell wrote.
Haaga, a registered Republican, has been active in philanthropy in Southern California. He is a Huntington Library trustee and president of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History’s board of trustees.
Haaga received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University, an MBA from Wharton School and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
He spent the first part of his career in law. From 1974 to 1977, he was a senior attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s investment management division. After that, he was a partner at a Washington law firm now known as Dechert.
Haaga and his wife, Heather, have two children, Paul III and Blythe.
In a bio on the SEC’s website, Haaga said he ran 21 marathons and coached 30 youth soccer and basketball teams “back when his knees still worked.” He has also, it turns out, had a tiny dinosaur named after him.
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