Schiller was born September 13, 1961 is the daughter of Ronald Schiller, a former editor at Reader's Digest, and Lillian Schiller of Larchmont, New York. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's degree in Russian studies and Soviet studies, and a Master's degree in Russian from Middlebury College.Biography
Prior to leading NPR, Schiller was a senior vice president of NYTimes.com. She was the first general manager of Discovery Times Channel (now Investigation Discovery), from 2002 - 2006.
Juan Williams controversy
On October 20, 2010, NPR fired political analyst Juan Williams. Initial reports indicated Williams was fired for his comments on Fox Newsthat he gets "nervous" when he sees people in "Muslim garb" boarding a plane. Speaking to the media, Schiller stated Williams was not fired for that particular incident, but for offering his controversial opinions on several occasions, which she deemed a breach of journalistic ethics for an NPR analyst.
Schiller then intensified the existing controversy over Williams' dismissal when she added that Williams should have kept his Muslim comments between himself and "his psychiatrist or his publicist—take your pick." Schiller quickly retracted her own remarks, stating, "I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark."
Juan Williams, appearing soon after on Fox News Channel "The O'Reilly Factor" noted in his own defense that other journalist staff members of NPR had previously voiced their own personal opinions and observations without their being reprimanded or terminated. Williams speculated that his termination was occasioned by his frequent appearances on Fox News Channel programs in general, and not by any individual remarks he may have made.
In January 2011, due to concerns with the "speed and handling of the termination process" of Juan Williams, the NPR board decided to deny Schiller a 2010 bonus in addition to accepting the resignation of Ellen Weiss, the news executive responsible for William's dismissal. At the same time, the board "expressed confidence in Vivian Schiller's leadership going forward."
Resignation From NPR
On March 9th, 2011, the NPR Board of Directors announced that they had officially accepted the resignation of Schiller. The resignation was a consequence of a secretly taped sting interview given by NPR employee Ronald Schiller, who is not related to Vivian Schiller.Dave Edwards, Chair of the NPR Board of Directors, sent the following message to the NPR staff regarding the resignation: "It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately. The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years." She was succeeded on an interim basis by Joyce Slocum, the senior vice president of Legal Affairs and General Counsel