The chief executive officer of Chicago Public Media, Matt Moog, announced his surprise resignation Monday from his post of three years, saying he intended to “return to my roots as a technology entrepreneur.”
In an internal statement circulated to staff, Moog said he plans to remain in his post, for which he was paid $533,620 in salary and benefits, until a new CEO is hired. Moog said the search will commence for a replacement in 2024.
Moog vowed to “ensure stability and continued momentum” of Chicago Public Media — parent organization of WBEZ, Vocalo and the Chicago Sun-Times — during his remaining time on the job and reiterated his commitment to improving local journalism in the region.
“I am passionate about the importance of local journalism and our role in fostering a healthy democracy and vibrant communities,” he wrote. “It is of utmost importance to me that upon my exit, CPM is as strong as ever and positioned for continued success and future growth.”
As CEO, Moog was instrumental in lining up $61 million in philanthropic backing to allow for the acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times, creating the largest nonprofit news organization in the country.
Moog had offered no public signals that he was contemplating a move away from the organization.
In a statement he sent to staff and a press release from the organization, he did not fully air his motivations for leaving the job outside of stating a desire to return back to his earlier career in business.
Moog served for 14 years on the Chicago Public Media board and, subsequently, three years as CEO.
“I plan to return to my roots as a technology entrepreneur. I feel a great sense of gratitude for the board, staff, and supporters who embraced the opportunity to combine two great news organizations in a bold effort to serve the greater Chicago community with independent local journalism,” Moog said in a statement.
During Moog’s watch, Chicago Public Media’s financial footing showed signs of sliding as Chicago and Illinois emerged from the pandemic. Based on the organization’s 2021 public tax filing, revenues were down by nearly $5 million from 2020.
Robert Pasin, chair of the Chicago Public Media Board, praised Moog’s tenure, saying he made a significant impact on the organization’s future.
“His impact spanned raising significant funds from major foundations and donors, developing a new strategic plan, and accelerating a digital transformation,” Pasin said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful for his vision and accomplishments through the years and look forward to seeing what innovative venture he pursues next.”
Adrienne King, chair of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Board of Directors, offered a similarly glowing review of Moog in a prepared statement.
“We are grateful for Matt’s vision and leadership as we combined these two great news organizations,” she said. “Thanks to the hard work of Matt and his team, we believe that Chicago Public Media, inclusive of the Sun-Times and WBEZ, is well-positioned to help Chicago realize its full potential as a city that is vibrant, inclusive, and equitable. We are excited about our collective future and wish Matt well in his future endeavors.”
Unions representing WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times did not have immediate responses regarding Moog’s departure.