Business & Economy

Vermont Public Radio CEO stepping down

Robin Turnau, president of VPR. Photo by Joyce Martel
Robin Turnau, president of VPR. Photo by Joyce Martel

The president and chief executive officer of Vermont Public Radio will leave her job in the spring after 28 years at the organization.

Robin Turnau, 52, announced Tuesday she will leave in March 2018. Turnau said this is “the right time” to look for other career opportunities.

Turnau joined Vermont Public Radio in 1989 at age 24. She rose through the ranks and was vice president of development before taking over as president and CEO in 2009.

In 1989, VPR had around 65,000 regular listeners per week, Turnau said, versus more than 200,000 per week now. The digital audience has also grown considerably during her tenure —from 89,000 monthly website visits in 2010 to 205,000 in 2017.

Most recently, Turnau spearheaded a $10 million fundraising campaign. The money went to pay for a new VPR newsroom, to expand VPR’s digital media presence, and to hire an investigative reporter.

“I have worked at VPR since one year after I graduated from college, so it has been my entire career, you might say, and I’m excited to see what else is out there,” Turnau said. She does not have any immediate plans.

“I really do think I have the best job in Vermont,” Turnau said. “The part I love most was going out into the community, meeting with people, hearing about the important role that VPR plays in their lives.”

Turnau lives in Charlotte and has college-aged children. Her spouse plans to keep his job with the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, a quasi-public nonprofit organization that deals with electronic medical records. She does not plan to relocate.

Peggy Williams, the chair of VPR’s board of directors, said Turnau spoke to her about her intent to leave last week before submitting her letter of resignation over the weekend. The VPR staff found out about her departure this week.

“We’re sorry to see her go, but understand, and feel she’s left us in a strong place to search for a successor,” Williams said. “We feel really good about all that’s been accomplished under her leadership.”

Williams praised Turnau’s “overall approach as a leader. She’s smart. She has great relations with board members and employees. And very self-directed and at the same time open to advice, so, I think, the whole package.”

Williams said the board of directors will launch a national search to find Turnau’s replacement. The new CEO will be expected to follow through on a strategic plan Turnau and the board adopted in the spring.

Clarification, Aug. 17, 8:14 a.m.: Turnau will leave in March 2018.

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Erin Mansfield

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