Three New Members Elected to PBS Board of Directors, Seated at First Meeting of Fiscal Year

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ARLINGTON, VA; September 27, 2018PBS welcomed newly elected and returning board members following its first board meeting of fiscal year 2019. Vivian Riefberg, a Washington, DC-based senior partner at McKinsey & Company, joined the board as a general director. Joining the board for the first time as professional directors were Deborah L. Acklin, president and CEO of WQED in Pittsburgh, and Kevin E. Martin, president and CEO of ideastream/WVIZ in Cleveland.                                                                                                  

Professional directors are station leaders from the public television system. Professional directors re-elected by the system include Ronnie Agnew of Mississippi Public Broadcasting (Jackson, Mississippi); Kim Johnson of Colorado Public Television (Denver); Kliff Kuehl of KCPT (Kansas City, Missouri); and Tom Rieland of WOSU (Columbus, Ohio).

In addition to Ms. Riefberg, the board also re-elected four other general directors, who serve as lay members of the board, meaning they come from outside the public media system. They include Afsaneh Beschloss, CEO of the Rock Creek Group; Maxine Clark, CEO of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation and founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop; Robert Sachs, principal of the Continental Consulting Group, LLC, and former president and CEO of NCTA; and Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune.

“In this complex media environment, PBS is grateful for the strategic guidance and knowledge provided by the station and lay leaders who serve on our board,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “The on-the-ground insights of our professional directors help to ensure that we are able to deliver a valuable public service that is unique in the media landscape and reflects local communities. Our esteemed group of general directors brings an array of diverse talents to the board, including business and financial acumen, journalism and communications expertise, and technical and regulatory experience. We are delighted to welcome all of our new and returning board members as we work to continue the mission of public media.”

The 27-person PBS board, which includes the PBS president, is responsible for governing and setting policy for PBS. General and professional directors of the PBS board serve without pay.

Except in the case of filling vacancies created by resignations, PBS member stations elect the professional directors. The full board elects general directors, the PBS president and professional directors filling vacancies on the board.


About PBS
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Jeremy Gaines, 703-739-5135, jmgaines@pbs.org



(Bios for the full board, including re-elected board members, are available at http://www.pbs.org/about/about-pbs/board-directors.)

Deborah L. Acklin, WQED, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Professional Director)

Deborah Acklin is president and CEO of WQED Multimedia, where she leads operations, strategies and fundraising across five television channels, three radio channels and WQED Digital. After serving at WQED as executive producer of national and local programming and later as executive vice president, she was named president and CEO in 2010.

Ms. Acklin has won many accolades for her work, including a national Emmy Award nomination for a documentary about the legendary Fred Rogers and 11 regional Emmy Awards (Mid-Atlantic). She serves on many nonprofit boards, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, the Office of Public Art and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. She also serves on the boards of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) and the PBS Major Market Group.   


Kevin E. Martin, ideastream/WVIZ, Cleveland, Ohio

(Professional Director)

Kevin Martin has been president and CEO of ideastream since 2017. ideastream holds the licenses for WVIZ/PBS, WCPN/NPR and WCLV/Classical Music. Mr. Martin began his public media career in 1990 at the Independent Television Service (ITVS) as their first director of finance and administration. He has since served in various senior executive positions at Twin Cities PBS, KERA and KQED.

Mr. Martin has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Station Resource Group (SRG), International Public Television (INPUT), the Development Exchange Inc. (now Greater Public) and the Public Media Business Association (PMBA). He served on the ITVS board of directors from 1999 to 2004, and as its chair from 2002 to 2004.


Vivian E. Riefberg, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, Washington, D.C. (General Director)

Vivian Riefberg is a senior partner in the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company. Ms. Riefberg served on McKinsey & Company’s global board of directors where she chaired of the firm’s client committee, overseeing client service direction and policy. Previously, she led McKinsey’s Public Sector Practice for the Americas and was a co-leader of the U.S. Health Care practice.   

Since joining McKinsey almost 30 years ago, Ms. Riefberg has led major performance improvement programs for various participants across the private, public and nonprofit sectors in the areas of strategy development, performance improvement, marketing, organization and operations. She often represents McKinsey as a spokesperson on the firm’s initiatives and research on women’s leadership in the workplace and gender diversity.

In addition to the PBS board of directors, she currently serves on the board of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a nonprofit that focuses on efforts to solve the child obesity challenge.