Rebecca Hawkes | 23-07-2013
ABC News veteran Kate O'Brian has been named president of Al Jazeera America, the new US channel from the Qatar-based TV network, which will launch on 20 August.
O'Brian was senior vice president for news at ABC News, having been responsible for all ABC News' newsgathering operations since 2007. She has won many awards, including an Emmy for ABC's 2000 Millennium coverage and a Peabody for the network's September 11 reports.
Based at Al Jazeera America's headquarters in New York City, she will now be responsible for the channel's editorial strategy and operations, including news, documentary and all other programming.
Mostefa Souag, acting director general, Al Jazeera said the channel was "delighted" to be welcoming O'Brian.
"Kate's arrival speaks volumes about what we intend to do and how we intend to do it," he said. "She is a highly experienced and award-winning journalist who fully understands what Americans want to see and hear when they watch the news. Kate has the vision, tenacity and integrity to ensure that Al Jazeera America will quickly become the success we expect it to be."
O'Brian, who leaves ABC after 30 years, is the latest news heavyweight to join Al Jazeera after its acquisition of Al Gore's Current TV.
Other newly unveiled executive appointments include Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director for international operations, who has been appointed interim chief executive officer of the channel. In his five years at the network, he has overseen the 70 bureaux, and also worked on the launch of Al Jazeera's Balkans and Turkish channels.
David Doss – previously senior executive producer at CNN – has been named senior vice president for news programming. Also an executive producer for both ABC and NBC News, Doss is the recipient of 14 national Emmy Awards, one national sports Emmy, three George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont Awards, and a George Polk Award.
Other new appointments include Marcy McGinnis as senior vice president, newsgathering, following her post as associate dean of Stony Brook University's School of Journalism, and more than three decades at CBS News.
Shannon High-Bassalik, previously of CNN and NBC Peacock Productions, has also been named Al Jazeera America's senior vice president, documentaries and programmes.