Al Jazeera America has announced that Ehab Al Shihabi will step down as CEO of the news operation. Al Jazeera English managing director Al Antsey will be the interim CEO, according to the network.
What may have contributed to Al Shihabi’s removal was a front page story in the New York Times this morning. John Koblin spoke with several former and current employees, Marcy McGinnis, and Al Shihabi himself. A controversy erupted, at least in media circles, based off what Al Shihabi had said about current prime time host and former CNN anchor, Ali Velshi. Velshi had some pointed questions for the then-CEO at a staff meeting. When Velshi was not present days later, Al Shihabi said, “I’ll spend whatever I have to spend to bankrupt him in court.” Al Shihabi also allegedly said “He’s finished here.”
Velshi responded with, “To hear that public threats of litigation and of bankrupting me have been made, if true, is disheartening and deeply troubling.” FTVLive reported that Velshi is in talks to rejoin CNN.
Al Shihabi will continue as Chief Operating Officer of Al Jazeera America.