Al Jazeera America Axes CEO Amid Legal & Corporate Woes

Al Jazeera America is being sued for $15 million over accusations of anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-woman bias and has lost a trio of high-profile executives in the past week, and now it has pink-slipped its top man. After running the struggling Qatar-backed news network since its launch, Ehab Al Shihabi has been replaced by Al Anstey, effective immediately.

“Having started my career with CBS News and lived in the U.S. later in my career, I’m very pleased to be returning to the U.S. to continue to uphold the highest standards of organizational excellence at the channel, with an absolute commitment to the very best in journalism and storytelling,” the new CEO said today. Having joined Al Jazeera in 2005, Anstey was the Managing Director of Al Jazeera English until this sudden promotion Wednesday. Before his stints at Al Jazeera, the new CEO was the head of Foreign News at the UK’s ITN. While Anstey takes over, the now-former CEO is said to leaving the organization.

Also, the CBS News alum takes over just after fellow ex-CBSer Mary McGinnis quit her post as AJAM’s SVP Corporate Outreach. McGinnis told staff on May 4 that she couldn’t back “the decisions or direction set forth by” Shihabi and the Al Jazeera Media Network and had decided to leave.

Related Al Jazeera America Lawsuit: $15M Anti-Semitic, Anti-U.S., Anti-Female Suit “Absurd”, CEO Says

That only made the perception of chaos at the news network all the more acute after the April 28 wrongful-termination lawsuit by former AJAM Supervisor of Media and Archive Management Matthew Luke. That came the same day that EVP Human Resources Diana Lee and EVP Communications Dawn Bridges announced they were leaving. Add to that the fact that AJAM has seen nothing but low ratings since its August 2013 launch and there’s not a lot of good news coming out of there.

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