Special guest panelists throughout the year included Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speech- writing, Ben Rhodes; journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien; Washington Bureau Chief for Al Arabiya News, Hisham Melhem; Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera International, Abderrahim Foukara; documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, marketing executive Frank Cooper III, and media executives Ben Silverman, Charlie Corwin and Howard Thomas Owens.
Board meetings and related documents are available for viewing online, bbg.gov/boardmeetings.
In 2014 the Board’s Special Committee on the Creation of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of U.S. International Media completed its work of selecting and appointing a CEO and director. This has been a key objective of the BBG and the Administration, and supported by the Office of Inspector General, to improve management and efficiency of BBG operations and to mitigate the challenges of a part-time board.
Respected journalist and media executive Andrew Lack served as the first-ever CEO and director of the agency from January to March 2015. In March, BBG’s Director of Global Operations André Mendes was named Interim CEO and Director upon Lack’s unforeseen return to NBC News.
The Board’s Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Radio Broadcasting conducted a comprehensive review of the efficacy of shortwave radio as a distribution platform. Taking an audience-first approach, the Committee, which was chaired by Governor Matt Armstrong, issued its report in August, “To Be Where the Audience Is: The Future of Shortwave.” The Board meets regularly throughout the year to discuss the agency’s performance, review agency policies and provide strategic direction. A new board meeting structure includes an in-depth look at each BBG network and a series of panel discussions to provide platforms for discussion and innovation. These panels covered topics from perceptions of the United States throughout the Middle East, democracy in Latin America, and digital storytelling techniques as a means of engaging audiences in rapidly changing media environments.