Memo on CBC News and Centres senior management structure

Read the article on the management structure at CBC I hope you are enjoying the summer and have been able to take some time for rest and relaxation. In the spring and early summer, we made some changes to the management structure of CBC News. I would like to take this opportunity to connect the…

Read the article on the management structure at CBC

I hope you are enjoying the summer and have been able to take some time for rest and relaxation. In the spring and early summer, we made some changes to the management structure of CBC News. I would like to take this opportunity to connect the dots and lay out the overall management structure of CBC News and Centres.

Many of you asked for more of this kind of clarity in the recent employee surveys. I hope this helps.

The changes are designed to make us more effective, to further break down the silos based on platforms and geography and to push decision making closer to the program areas. I now have fewer direct reports and am always looking for opportunities to streamline the management structure. These are all steps toward a fully integrated structure and we hope they help ensure our success in a fast changing industry.

Our organizational chart is anchored by two parallel streams: NEWS-GATHERING CONTENT and PROGRAMMING.

Jonathan Whitten is responsible for all our CONTENT production. That includes the work of our news-gathering operations (reporters and desk), our content units, our international bureaus and our Ottawa Hill bureau. Jonathan has overall responsibility for the daily journalistic decisions made by CBC News in all its locations against our Journalistic Standards and Policies. (David Studer is his delegate for the hotline calls). Jonathan also carries the overall reporter talent file, ensuring career development and succession.

Fiona Conway is responsible for all our PROGRAM production. All network news programs on all platforms report to her area. In partnership with the Managing Directors, Fiona also has a role in our local programs. She sets the specific program mandates and ensures the programs are meeting their audience targets. Earlier this summer, Fiona was given responsibility for CBC News Network. This means all the people and resources that used to report to Todd Spencer will now report to Fiona. In addition, the radio program development process has expanded to include television programs. Havoc Franklin who leads that now reports to Fiona. You may have noticed recent job postings in Fiona’s area so there will be more announcements in the weeks to come.

Johnny Michel, John Bertrand, Susan Marjetti and Andrew Cochran are the senior managing directors for the West, the Prairies/North, Ontario (outside Ottawa) and Atlantic Canada respectively. They are the senior CBC News people on the ground and are responsible for both the program and news-gathering streams of their respective regions. They report directly to me and have many intersections with the rest of the team, especially in the areas of coverage, policy and strategy. They take part in all strategic discussions and take on department-wide projects.

Marissa Nelson is in charge of our overall digital strategy. It includes responsibility for all of our websites, mobile products, and the program pages. Marissa works closely with the senior managing directors across the country to ensure a consistent approach. Our digital strategy is focused on public engagement, search engine optimization, innovation, and maximizing audiences/revenue. Local digital is expected to be a big growth area for us in the years to come and Marissa is accountable for tying it all together.

Outside the content areas, several members of my team have key department-wide roles in moving priorities forward and making sure things run smoothly.

Gino Apponi is my chief of staff. He manages the senior team, ensuring all objectives are set and everyone and everything is on track to deliver results. He is my delegate on all major files and is focused on issues and stakeholder management, staff development and communication, and management accountability.


Liz Hughes is my delegate for priority files that cross platforms and borders. Over the past year, she has been spearheading the important local service extension project that opened up new operations in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kamloops and Saskatoon. She also led the local digital project that is now rolling out across the country. In the interim, I have asked Liz to also be my deputy in managing Ottawa and Quebec (we will be moving to a Senior Managing Director structure there too in the near future).

Anita Lasebnik is our new financial lead, replacing Mona Venkateswaran who held the job for several years. Anita controls all the budgets and makes sure that appropriate controls are in place to allow our programs to maximize their resources and achieve success. Anita acts as an equal partner within senior management. This role is increasingly important as we find ourselves constantly trying to do more with less.

Jack Nagler is the keeper of our journalistic procedures and policy, judging what we produce against them and responding to complaints when our viewers, readers and listeners think we fall short. He is responsible for the Ombudsman process and will monitor our coverage and regularly assess what we do. Jack will also be proactive, pioneering new relationships with journalism schools, stakeholders and industry groups. Our goal is to further entrench CBC News as the home of quality journalism and to attract the best journalists in the country.

Robert Bishop is responsible for our revenue initiatives. He manages the relationship between news and the Revenue Group.  He is involved in sponsorships, the placement of ads and revenue generating initiatives like the airport news service (News Express).

In addition, we work very closely with John Bainbridge and his team at Media Operations and Technology (MO&T), Serena Thadani-Anthony and her team in Human Resources and Nancy Boyle and David Jang in Communications. They too are part of our senior team meetings.

Again, I hope this helps clarify who does what. I am committed to updating this when things change. We will be posting our org chart on the journalistic portal and featuring it on the monitors here in Toronto. I will also ask each of the managers listed above to follow this note in the days and weeks to come with a more detailed look at their areas and priorities.


Jennifer McGuire

General Manager and Editor in Chief,

CBC News and Centres

Read the article on the overall management structure at CBC

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.