NPR CEO Jarl Mohn to Take Medical Leave

Hypertension scare prompts exec to step away for at least a month, NPR says 11/07/2017 6:10 PM Eastern
Jarl Mohn of NPR. (Photo by Stephen Voss/NPR.)

Longtime programmer previously had suffered a 'nearly punctured aorta.'

Jarl Mohn, the CEO of NPR, is going on a medical leave of absence for at least a month, NPR reported, adding the action comes less than a week after NPR's head of news, Michael Oreskes, was ousted amid complaints of sexual harassment. 

Mohn, in an email to staff cited in the NPR article, said that "last March I suffered a nearly fatal ruptured aorta. I returned to work with the blessing of my physician with one important caveat—I cannot allow my blood pressure to rise. Regretfully, the hypertension has returned to a dangerous level, and I have been instructed to take medical leave until my health returns to normal, at a minimum of four weeks."

NPR noted that "Mohn has faced tough questions from staff over his handling of the Oreskes scandal." Oreskes was ousted at NPR after The Washington Post reported two women complained to NPR that Oreskes had kissed them, unwanted, when each was talking to him about getting a job at The New York Times, where he was Washington bureau chief. Those incidents were in the 1990s. After the Post article appeared, Mohn stated that Oreskes also had been formally rebuked by NPR, in 2015, after a complaint was made against him by an NPR staffer. And on Tuesday, NPR said, Mohn stated that a "second similar complaint" at NPR was made against Oreskes at around the same time. Mohn has apologized to NPR staff members, NPR said, and told them that he should have acted "faster and more decisively." 

Chief operating officer Loren Mayor will handle his duties during the leave, NPR said. 

Mohn, who earlier in his high-profile media career oversaw E! Entertainment Television, was general manager of VH1 and MTV and was president of Liberty Digital, on Monday declined the invitation to be inducted into the 2018 class of the Cable Hall of Fame, in order to "focus all his efforts on NPR," The Cable Center said.

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