Amid turmoil, Al Jazeera America names new CEO

Amid turmoil, Al Jazeera America names new CEO

WASHINGTON-Agence France-Presse
Amid turmoil, Al Jazeera America names new CEO

In this Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, Al-Jazeera America editorial newsroom staff prepare for their first broadcast in New York. AP Photo

Al Jazeera America on May 6 shook up its top ranks with a new chief executive, after a week of turmoil at the U.S. channel operated by the Qatar-owned news organization.

Named CEO was Al Anstey, who has been managing director at Al-Jazeera English and prior to that headed foreign news for the British network ITN and U.S.-based CBS.

The change, effective immediately, replaces interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi who was responsible for launching Al Jazeera America in 2013.

The move came after a series of high-profile resignations at Al Jazeera, charges of anti-Semitism and sex discrimination at the news channel, and a wrongful terminal lawsuit filed.

Earlier this week, Al-Jazeera issued a statement disputing allegations of discrimination.

“These reports are false and malicious and are designed to mar the exceptional talent and diversity of its employees and the values that Al Jazeera America upholds,” the statement on May 4 said.

Al Shihabi said in the statement that the group “does not tolerate any discriminatory conduct and we take great pride in the diversity of our organization and its leadership.  The recent attacks on us as being anti-Semitic, sexist and anti-American are absurd.”   

Marcy McGinnis, formerly senior vice president for news gathering, told the New York Times on resigning that there was a “culture of fear” at Al Jazeera, adding that “people are afraid to lose their jobs if they cross Ehab.” According to the report, human resources chief Diana Lee, and executive vice president for communications, Dawn Bridges, also resigned.

A lawsuit from a former employee accused Al Jazeera of anti-Semitism, sexual discrimination and retaliation against employees.