WASHINGTON (June 3, 2013)—Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of NPR, and Nigel Morris, managing partner of QED Investors, have been appointed to the National Geographic Society board of trustees. They join 17 other trustees who are leaders in science, education, law, business, finance, government and public service.
The 125-year-old National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. It reaches more than 450 million people each month through its magazines, National Geographic Channel, books, films, DVDs, maps, radio, school publishing program, live events, interactive media, exhibitions and expeditions. It has funded more than 10,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy.
“National Geographic is fortunate to have the additional counsel and experience of Gary Knell and Nigel Morris, who have impressive records of leadership and service in the fields of media and finance,” said Society Chairman and CEO John Fahey.
Knell heads NPR, one of the country’s most iconic news organizations and the producer of highly regarded programs that include “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” Under his leadership, NPR has thrived in a rapidly changing media environment due to Knell’s ability to leverage the organization’s extensive network of member stations, drive cross-platform journalism and cultural programming, grow philanthropic and corporate underwriting support, and draw new audiences to NPR’s distinct offerings. A strong advocate of innovation, Knell is making possible the exploration of new technologies that advance NPR’s core mission and grow audience for all of public media.
With a career in public media spanning nearly three decades, Knell served as CEO of Sesame Workshop for 12 years before joining NPR in 2011. During his 22-year tenure at Sesame, the organization expanded its revenue base, audience and global recognition. Knell was instrumental in focusing the organization on Sesame Street’s worldwide mission, including the creation of groundbreaking co-productions in South Africa, India, Northern Ireland and Egypt.
Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Knell was managing director of Manager Media International, a print and multimedia publishing company based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. He has also served as senior vice president and general counsel at WNET/Channel 13 in New York, was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committees in Washington, D.C., and worked in the California State Legislature and Governor’s Office.
Knell is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the board of governors of the National Geographic Education Foundation as well as on the boards of Heidrick and Struggles, an executive search firm; the Jacob Burns Film Center; and Common Sense Media. He is an adviser to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC and the Military Child Education Coalition.
A Gordon Grand Fellow at Yale University, Knell was a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Duke University, Southern Methodist University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Puerto Rico. He has a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles as well as honorary doctorates from Mercy College in New York and Kenyon College in Ohio.
Morris is the managing partner of QED Investors, a direct investment fund focused on high-growth companies that leverage the power of data strategies. In addition, he works in an advisory capacity with General Atlantic Partners and Oliver Wyman Consulting. He serves on the board of numerous for-profit companies, including Red Ventures, Klarna, Capital Access Network, Media Math, borro and Braintree. He is also on the board of the Brookings Institution, ideas42 and the London Business School.
Previously, Morris co-founded Capital One Financial Services in 1994. Under his leadership, Capital One pioneered an information-based strategy that fundamentally transformed the consumer lending industry. Combining advanced statistical marketing techniques with nascent information technologies, the company reduced costs to conventional borrowers, extended capital to overlooked consumers, expanded internationally and produced extraordinary returns for investors.
During Morris’ 10-year tenure, Capital One’s net income after taxes (NIAT) grew at a compound annual rate of more than 32 percent. Over the same decade, earnings per share growth and return on equity both exceeded 20 percent per year, a financial performance attained by only a handful of American companies. On Morris’ retirement in 2004, Capital One’s 15,000 employees across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom managed over $80 billion of loans for 50 million customers. Generating more than $1.5 billion in earnings, Capital One had successfully transitioned from an emerging startup into an established public company valued at over $20 billion.
Morris has a B.Sc. in psychology from the East London University and an M.B.A. with distinction from London Business School, where he is also a Fellow.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Its mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Founded in 1888, the member-supported Society offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 450 million people worldwide each month through National Geographic and other magazines, National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, music, radio, films, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
Note to Editors: Photographs of the new National Geographic trustees can be found at the FTP site http://press.nationalgeographic.com/downloads/trustees_2013.
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