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NPR chief executive Gary Knell leaving after less than 2 years

The president and CEO of NPR is leaving after less than two years to take a similar position at the National Geographic Society.

NPR's board of directors announced Gary Knell's departure on Monday. Knell will stay in the job until this fall while the board works to find a successor.

Knell took over NPR in December 2011 after a difficult period. He succeeded Vivian Schiller, who resigned under pressure after a former NPR fundraiser was caught on camera calling the tea party racist. The episode led some conservatives to call for an end to federal funding for NPR.

Board chairman Kit Jensen says that under Knell's leadership, "NPR has built a firm foundation for providing the highest quality journalism and programming."