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SONY Entertainment CEO Lynton quits BBG board after questions raised about attendance. Updated

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Updated...

Lynne Weil, BBG Director of Communications and External Affairs, added this additional context on Friday:

"Michael Lynton was serving on an expired term. In his resignation letter, he noted that "circumstances kept me from taking part in ... recent formal meetings" of the BBG board.

"Mr. Lynton's fellow board members elected him to be interim presiding governor in February 2012 because the previous chairman had left and there was no nominee to replace him. This past January, Jeff Shell was nominated to be BBG Chairman, and we hope that he is confirmed soon," Weil said.

...End Update


WASHINGTON--Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, Inc., stepped down from the Broadcasting Board of Governors on Thursday, after I raised questions this week about his lack of attendance at board meetings this year.

Lynton resigned before I posted anything but after the BBG and a spokesman for SONY knew that I was potentially writing about his attendance record.

The BBG is an independent federal agency which oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).

Lynton resigned effective today, the BBG said in a statement. Lynton was the interim chief of the board, taking over after former chairman Walter Isaacson stepped down on Jan. 27, 2012.

Lynton missed board meetings in Washington on Jan. 23, 2012 and April 19-20 in Miami, Fl. in the office of Cuba broadcasting.

He participated by phone in Feb. 11 and Aug. 17, 2012 telephone meetings.

Lynton did attend in-person a March 8, Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Dec. 14, 2012 board meetings in Washington. Lynton participated via phone in a June 7, 2012 board meeting in Prague, the Czech Republic at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

In 2013, Lynton did not attend board meetings in Washington on Feb. 22 and April 10-11, where there was a lack of a quorum, that is, five members on the nine member board so the April meeting ended in a recess.

Some members of the board met twice since; each time there was no quorum. Lynton's departure leaves the board with four members. Lynton joined the board on July 2, 2010; his term expired on Aug. 13, 2012 but members can serve until they are replaced.

"It has been an honor to serve our country by taking part in the work of this board, which was established to oversee an agency with a complex and vital calling," Lynton wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, released by the BBG.

"Time and time again, we have seen that the journalists and other staff of the BBG are dedicated to the agency's mission: to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They prove it around the clock and against steep odds, in many cases amid some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

"In an effort to sustain this mission, I was proud to work with fellow board members on promoting long-needed reforms of the agency's structure and governance-- among them, enhancing collaboration between the broadcasters and establishing the position of a Chief Executive Officer with day-to-day operational responsibilities," he continued. "I wish the current members and our successors the very best in seeing these reforms through."

below, the Lynton resignation letter...


May 23, 2013
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

With this letter, I submit my resignation from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) effective May 23rd. 2013.

It has been an honor to serve our country by taking part in the work of this board, which was established to oversee an agency with a complex and vital calling. Time and time again, we have seen that the journalists and other staff of the BBG are dedicated to the agency's mission: to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They prove it around the clock and against steep odds, in many cases amid some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

In an effort to sustain this mission, I was proud to work with fellow board members on promoting long-needed reforms of the agency's structure and governance-- among them, enhancing collaboration between the broadcasters and establishing the position of a Chief Executive Officer with day-to-day operational responsibilities. I wish the current members and our successors the very best in seeing these reforms through.

And I'd like once more to thank fellow board members for asking me to take the reins more than a year ago. Circumstances kept me from taking part in their recent formal meetings, but it is my hope that the BBG board will enjoy a full and productive membership soon.

Respectfully,
Michael Lynton

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 23, 2013 1:36 PM.

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